A renewed focus pays off big for the seasoned jazz musicians of DVK Trio | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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A renewed focus pays off big for the seasoned jazz musicians of DVK Trio

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Drummer Hamid Drake, bassist Kent Kessler, and saxophonist and clarinetist Ken Vandermark have been playing together as DKV Trio since 1994. During their early years, their forceful playing—which was forged and focused by frequent gigging and their ability to improvise cohesive, songlike structures—made them one of the most exciting live acts of any genre to grace a Chicago stage. But by the early 2000s, the overseas obligations of each member had multiplied, and they scaled back group performances to the point that each gig felt like a return to status quo, rather than an opportunity to further develop their sound. In recognition of this, DKV Trio added tours of Europe and collaborative efforts with multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee and Scandinavian garage-jazz trio the Thing, alongside their annual year-end concerts in Chicago and Milwaukee. These redoubled efforts pay off on their most recent album, Latitude 41.88 (Not Two). Not only can DKV Trio instantly compose music that’s so memorable you’d swear you were remembering deep cuts from an old favorite album when you hear it, but each man’s growth as an instrumentalist heightens the lyricism and soul of their tunes, as well as the lucid rigor of their abstract passages.   v

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