Airports for Light

COMPOSERS: The Vandermark 5
LABELS: Atavistic
PERFORMER: The Vandermark 5


Marsalis-watchers might also be pleased that their man is starting to get out more. American free playing is also in exceptionally good order, and emerging from numerous jazz outbacks. Chicago’s eminence in the field continues to be upheld by the VANDERMARK 5, the mighty quintet led by the genius hustler and scene-setter Ken Vandermark.

The 5 is the leading vehicle among the many which Vandermark inhabits, and its explosive mix of tightly drawn forms, unhindered blow-out solos and a rhythmical bag which goes from slow, sober swing to a kind of sharp free-funk surely has many miles left in it yet.


Vandermark’s dedications – to everyone from Budd Johnson to Otis Redding – are reflected in music which can be oddly poignant as often as it is exhilarating. Airports for Light has no dull moments and the bonus in every set the band does is the presence of trombonist Jeb Bishop, a sensational maverick on a horn who has never wanted for character.