Head Above Water, Feet out of the Fire
Here's a corker of a large-ensemble recording from saxophonist Ken Vandermark. The dedication of tunes, to the likes of Muhal Richard Abrams and Fred Anderson, underlines the ensemble's connection to the Chicago experimentalist scene. But their jamming isn't even all that out-there. There's a steady, funky pulse driving the opener; after a brief lull for atmosphere, some meaty ensemble horn-charts carry the piece home. And there's more where that came from: a double album full of adventure and experimentation (especially the piece for Jean-Luc Godard).