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DKV Trio / Joe McPhee : The Fire Each Time [6 CD BOX] (Not Two Records)

A 6-CD boxset of recordings from the DKV Trio of Hamid Drake (drums), Kent Kessler (bass), and Ken Vandermark (reeds), plus guest Joe McPhee, the box dedicated to James Baldwin, recorded during the quartet's 2017 tour in Europe, and at shows in Chicago and Milwaukee that year, documenting six concerts with performances including Joe McPhee's "Nation Time".

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product information:

UPC: 5906395187423

Label: Not Two Records
Catalog ID: MW982-2
Squidco Product Code: 27096

Format: 6 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: Poland
Packaging: Box Set - 6 CDs
CD 1 recorded at Instants Chavires, in Paris, France on November 13th, 2017, by Jean-Marc Foussat.

CD 2 recorded at Klub Dragon, in Poznan, Poland, on November 15th, 2017, by Bartek Olszewski.

CD 3 recorded at Divadlo 29, in Pardubice, Czech Republic, on November 16th, 2017, by Miroslav Skop.

CD 4 recorded at The Sugar Maple, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on December 27th, 2017, by Dave Zuchowski.

CD 5 recorded at Elastic Arts, in Chicago, Illinois, on December 28th, 2017, by by Dave Zuchowski.

CD 6 recorded at Elastic Arts, in Chicago, Illinois, on December 29th, 2017, by Dave Zuchowski.


Kent Kessler-bass

Hamid Drake-drums

Joe McPhee-reeds

Ken Vandermark-reeds

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Artist Biographies:

"Kent Kessler (born January 28, 1957 in Crawfordsville, Indiana) is an American jazz double-bassist, best known for his work in the Chicago avant-garde jazz scene.

Kessler, born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, grew up on Cape Cod and began playing trombone at age ten. He and his family moved to Chicago when he was 13, and a few years later Kessler became intensely interested in jazz. While attending St. Mary Center for Learning High School, he began taking lessons from Kestutis Stanciauskas (Streetdancer) in electric bass and jazz theory in the middle of the 1970s. In 1977 he formed the ensemble Neutrino Orchestra with percussionist Michael Zerang and guitarists Dan Scanlan and Norbert Funk. He spent three months in Brazil during 1980-81 and spent time studying intermittently at Roosevelt University in Chicago; he and Zerang also formed a group called Musica Menta, which played regularly at Link's Hall.

Kessler began playing double bass in the 1980s and it became his primary instrument when he was asked in 1985 to join the NRG Ensemble, who toured Europe and recorded for ECM Records under the leadership of Hal Russell until his death in 1992. In 1991, he gigged with Zerang and guitarist Chris DeChiara; in need of a hornist, they called Ken Vandermark, who had been considering leaving the Chicago scene. Kessler and Vandermark would go on to collaborate extensively on free jazz and improvisational projects such as the Vandermark 5, the DKV Trio and the Steelwool Trio. In the 1990s and afterwards he worked with Chicago musicians such as Hamid Drake, Fred Anderson, and Joe McPhee, and also with European musicians such as Peter Brötzmann, Mats Gustafsson, Misha Mengelberg, and Luc Houtkamp.

In 2003, Kessler released a solo album, Bull Fiddle, on Okka Disk. Kessler performs alone on nine of the twelve tracks, and with Michael Zerang on three."

-Wikipedia (

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"Hamid Drake (born August 3, 1955) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. He lives in Chicago, IL but spends a great deal of time touring worldwide. By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in jazz and avant improvised music. Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free-jazz improvisers. Drake also has performed world music; by the late 70s, he was a member of Foday Musa Suso's Mandingo Griot Society and has played reggae throughout his career.

Drake has worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Archie Shepp and David Murray and bassists Reggie Workman and William Parker (in a large number of lineups)

He studied drums extensively, including eastern and Caribbean styles. He frequently plays without sticks; using his hands to develop subtle commanding undertones. His tabla playing is notable for his subtlety and flair. Drake's questing nature and his interest in Caribbean percussion led to a deep involvement with reggae."

-Wikipedia (

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"Joe McPhee, born November 3,1939 in Miami, Florida, USA, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, improviser, conceptualist and theoretician. He began playing the trumpet at age eight, taught by his father, himself a trumpet player. He continued on that instrument through his formative school years and later in a U.S. Army band stationed in Germany, at which time he was introduced to performing traditional jazz. Clifford Thornton's Freedom and Unity, released in 1969 on the Third World label, is the first recording on which he appears as a side man. In 1968, inspired by the music of Albert Ayler, he took up the saxophone and began an active involvement in both acoustic and electronic music.

His first recordings as leader appeared on the CJ Records label, founded in 1969 by painter Craig Johnson. These include Underground Railroad by the Joe McPhee Quartet (1969), Nation Time (1970), Trinity (1971) and Pieces of Light (1974). In 1975, Swiss entrepreneur Werner X. Uehlinger release Black Magic Man by McPhee, on what was to become Hat Hut Records.

In 1981, he met composer, accordionist, performer, and educator Pauline Oliveros, whose theories of "deep listening" strengthened his interests in extended instrumental and electronic techniques. he also discovered Edward de Bono's book Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity, which presents concepts for solving problems by "disrupting an apparent sequence and arriving at the solution from another angle." de Bono's theories inspired McPhee to apply this "sideways thinking" to his own work in creative improvisation, resulting in the concept of "Po Music." McPhee describes "Po Music" as a "process of provocation" (Po is a language indicator to show that provocation is being used) to "move from one fixed set of ideas in an attempt to discover new ones." He concludes, "It is a Positive, Possible, Poetic Hypothesis." The results of this application of Po principles to creative improvisation can be heard on several Hat Art recordings, including Topology, Linear B, and Oleo & a Future Retrospective.

In 1997, McPhee discovered two like-minded improvisers in bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen. The trio premiered at the Vision Jazz Festival in 1998 but the concert went unnoticed by the press. McPhee, Duval, and Rosen therefore decided that an apt title for the group would be Trio X. In 2004 he created Survival Unit III with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Michael Zerang to expand his musical horizons and with a career spanning nearly 50 years and over 100 recordings, he continues to tour internationally, forge new connections while reaching for music's outer limits."

-Joe McPhee Website (

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"Born in Warwick, Rhode Island on September 22nd, 1964, Ken Vandermark began studying the tenor saxophone at the age of 16. Since graduating with a degree in Film and Communications from McGill University during the spring of 1986, his primary creative emphasis has been the exploration of contemporary music that deals directly with advanced methods of improvisation. In 1989, he moved to Chicago from Boston, and has worked continuously from the early 1990's onward, both as a performer and organizer in North America and Europe, recording in a large array of contexts, with many internationally renowned musicians (such as Fred Anderson, Ab Baars, Peter Brötzmann, Tim Daisy, Hamid Drake, Terrie Ex, Mats Gustafsson, Devin Hoff, Christof Kurzmann, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Joe McPhee, Paal Nilssen-Love, Paul Lytton, Andy Moor, Joe Morris, and Nate Wooley). His current activity includes work with Made To Break, The Resonance Ensemble, Side A, Lean Left, Fire Room, the DKV Trio, and duos with Paal Nilssen-Love and Tim Daisy; in addition, he is the music director of the experimental Pop band, The Margots. More than half of each year is spent touring in Europe, North America, and Japan, and his concerts and numerous recordings have been critically acclaimed both at home and abroad. In addition to the tenor sax, he also plays the bass and Bb clarinet, and baritone saxophone. In 1999 he was awarded the MacArthur prize for music."

-Ken Vandermark Website (

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track listing:


1. Le Select > Chicago Defender > Nation Time 31:37

2. Rue De Tournon 8:17

3. 201 Chemin Du Pilon > IMPRESSIONS OF KNOX: Variations On A Theme by Joe McPhee 20:18


1. CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE: Impressions Of A Theme By Thelonious Monk > 100 West Mosholu Parkway South 17:38

2. An Impression Of SUMMERTIME by George Gershwin 4:59

3. Ebe Hanim 11:02

4. 137 West 71st Street > Nation Time 20:13

5. An Impression Of COME SUNDAY by Duke Ellington 2:53 CD3

1. West 128th Street 17:02

2. CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE: Impressions Of A Theme By Thelonious Monk > Nation Time 16:08

3. IMPRESSIONS OF KNOX: Variations On A Theme By Joe McPhee 13:19


1. L'Abbaye 11:15

2. P.S. 24 16:26

3. For Trayvon Martin (Giving Voice To One Which Was Stolen) 7:12

4. Les Deux Magots 19:49

5. IMPRESSIONS OF KNOX: Variations On A Theme By Joe McPhee 7:38


1. 81 Horatio Street 14:11

2. An Impression Of OL' MAN RIVER by Jerome Kern 6:58

3. Leukerbad 10:26

4. IMPRESSIONS OF KNOX: Variations On A Theme By Joe McPhee 6:58

5. An Impression Of BROWN RICE by Don Cherry 9:49


1. Cafe De Flare 18:56

2. Saint-Paul-De-Vence 22:44

3. IMPRESSIONS OF KNOX: Variations On A Theme By Joe McPhee 14:45

4. IMPRESSIONS OF OLD EYES: Variations On A Theme By Joe McPhee 13:32
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Ken Vandermark and Joe McPhee share many philosophical commonalities, prominent among them a propensity for giving figurative flowers to the legion of individuals who have influenced their art. Vandermark regularly lists and explicates the members of his expanding pantheon and often composes with particular people in mind. McPhee does the same if less frequently, returning to a select few with semi-regularity. The Fire Each Time intimates at the identity of a mutual mentor, adapting the title of one of author James Baldwin's seminal non-fiction treatises to apply to a series of concert recordings from a two legs of 2017 tour by the team-up of Vandermark's DKV Trio with McPhee.

DKV, the first two consonants abbreviating drummer Hamid Drake and bassist Kent Kessler alongside the leader's surname initial, remains among Vandermark's oldest working groups. It's also one of his most visceral and satisfying as it takes the time-honored template of reeds plus rhythm and applies it to a free jazz context fueled by equal parts composition and improvisation. Guests to the framework, at least on record, can historically be counted on a handful of fingers and include the late Fred Anderson, guitarist Joe Morris and members of the Swedish trio The Thing. McPhee has an analogous ongoing outlet in Trio X with drummer Jay Rosen, that recently resumed activity with the addition of the late bassist Dominic Duval's son in place of his dad.

Baldwin's memory resonates in the set's title, but another massive influence manifests in both the collective spirit of the music and the first of two McPhee-composed poems that serve as framing notes. McPhee threads a baker's dozen of John Coltrane's titles into a text alongside several more by Baldwin lamenting the iconic saxophonist's passing. The second recontextualizes McPhee's pivotal "Nation Time" (a piece given three medley-fused readings throughout the box) to our current "Error of Trump" and pulls zero punches in relating both the stakes and the consequences for those billions maliciously and mendaciously left outside of the orange demagogue's new world order. Internalized in tandem with the galvanizing music the effect of McPhee's righteous invective is immediate and incensing.

Musically, the five performances spread across six discs hew to roughly similar durations; but they vary dynamically in terms of content. Even pieces given repeat investigation are ripe with righteous interplay and variation. DKV has never been shy about reveling in covers and the setlists are littered with choice selections in that regard. Don Cherry's "Brown Rice," Jerome Kern's "Ol' Man River" and Monk's "Evidence" each receive incisive interpretations. There are also numerous Vandermark pieces that reference locations including "81 Horatio Street," Baldwin's erstwhile West Village residence, which recently sold through Sotheby's for $20 million, egregious advancement of income inequality be damned. "P.S. 24" and "West 128th Street" reference Baldwin's boyhood alma mater and posthumous memorial both located in Harlem.

Vandermark also scripts aural homages to several of Baldwin's Parisian haunts ("Rue de Tournon," "Les Deux Magots," "Café de Flore") and other geographical stops he made in Turkey and Switzerland. Each of the pieces flows easily one to the next with foursome working equally well at full muster and component combinations. Even on the rare occasions where they coast together on vamps the feel is not one of time-killing, but rather recalibrating for the next collective trajectory. That continuous and purposeful momentum makes for a rich comparison to each of the set's dedicatees, neither of whom could subsume or shelve restless creativity coupled unerringly to urgent advocacy for social and racial justice."-Derek Taylor, Dusted Magazine

Get additional information at Dusted Magazine
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