Ken Vandermark: baritone saxophone, clarinet & bass clarinet
Magnus Broo: trumpet
Paal Nilssen-Love: drums
Recorded in Coimbra, Portugal in June 2006, 4 Corners brings together Lane, Vandermark and Thing drummer Paal Nilssen-Love with Swedish trumpeter Magnus Broo for seven originals. The first curious aspect of this date is that, like Håker Flaten and Bridge 61's Nate McBride before him, Lane has chosen to plug in his upright to a fuzz-box in his amp cabinet. Of course, this is nothing completely new, but here such augmentation is used to tonally align the music with the grungier effects of rock. Granted, the opening "Alfama (for Georges Braque) quickly segues from a punchy waltz to a deft and mercurial duet between Broo and Nilssen-Love. Vandermark's bass clarinet is a raunchy Dolphy over the returning fuzz and feedback-laced vamp, and Nilssen-Love is once again proven to excel at forwarding both delicate open improvisation and throaty ensemble mass.
It's a testament to Vandermark's writing that free-bop and rock can coexist, but in this particular instance, the interaction between the two sides retains an aesthetic wall—Lane's (v)amp is often used more as a reminder of intent than aesthetic device. Lane's "Spin With The EARth, previously heard with reedman
Rock is, to a degree, about mass, velocity and time, and coupling low reeds and insistent basslines with darting trumpet and Nilssen-Love's oft-suspended notions of time is an interesting take on "fusion. Perhaps this is closer to its meaning than merely plugging in for a bass solo. However, I wished for a more circular room in this quartet's music.
2007 4 CORNERS