The newest member in the band, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, brought a new range of sounds to the Vandermark palette the sounds of ripped and swept textures, electronic feedback, the sound of radio static that gets wiped across a fingerboard, and dark hovering backgrounds.
Lonberg-Holm's sounds fitted right into Ken Vandermark's multi-part compositions with their abstracted references to a lot of musical styles and states of mind, running from R&B, Latin and Bop, to Modal, New Music, and Minimalism.
"Burden of the Truth" was at one point a walking bass line and a rhapsodic bowed blues playing that changed in mood and tempo several times before it concluded with the horns holding a single rousing note.
"Convertible" revealed the essential contribution of percussionist Tim Daisy and bassist Kent Kessler to the music's deeply emotional sub-text. They did more than indicate time. They made us feel time.
The theme of "Ladder" was, appropriately enough, a stepping up series of tones that abruptly turned into an assertive walking bass line, a burly baritone solo, and then a gripping duet where Vandermark's improvised baritone counterlines freely engaged with the deliberately placed alto tones of Rempis.