logo  DKV Trio “Live in Wels & Chicago” (OD12030)
Musicians Hamid Drake — drums
Kent Kessler — bass
Ken Vandermark — tenor sax
Cover and Artwork cover  cover
graphic design: L.E. Molnar
photography: Rebecca Gleason
art design: Adrienne Pierluissi

Wels CD
1. Part 1 (7:12)
2. Part 2 (4:58)
3. Part 3 (13:53)
4. Part 4
5. Part 5 (9:22)
6. Memory Sketch (for Don Cherry) (4:10)
Total Time: 43:55

Chicago CD
1. Open Door (30:52)
2. Blues for Tomorrow (19:12)
3. Burning Sky (23:05)

Total Time: (73:09)

Recording Info

Wels CD recorded at:
“Music Unlimited 98” Festival
November 8, 1998

Chicago CD recorded at:
Velvet Lounge, Chicago
November 20 & 21, 1998
recorded by: John McCortney

mixed by
& mastered by: John McCortney
Airwave Recording Studios
September 23, 1999

produced by: Ken Vandermark & Joe Morris
executive producer: Bruno Johnson

[This] double live set is powerful, especially the Wels disc, recorded at the Music Unlimited Festival, November 8th, 1998. At Wels, the DKV Trio (Hamid Drake on drums, Kent Kessler on bass, and Ken Vandermark on reeds) rips confidently and creatively through “Complete Communion Suite”, a forty-four minute tour de force improvised off Don Cherry’s joyous “Complete Communion” theme. Excellent recording quality. It’s been a while since a double bass has sounded so muscular and commanding, kudos to Kessler. Drake is stunning on the traps, using sticks and hands to hypnotic and dynamic effect, seeming aligned with higher powers. Vandermark deepens and diversifies his attack to include some restrained melodic interludes along with trademark energy carvings, especially on tenor. The three-quarter hour program vanishes in a blink, culminating in a sensitive denouement, “Memory Sketch (For Don Cherry)”. You half-believe the gypsy piper who inspired this music will enter at the end to blow a few last, lingering notes on his pocket trumpet. Essential.

The Chicago disc, recorded less than two weeks after Wels at Fred Anderson’s Velvet Lounge, has three extended performances. After the Wels disc’s jubilant triumph, this is more restrained, yet determined in its moods. Hamid Drake is magical on “Open Door”. Damn, he’s magical throughout! Less immediate in impact, the Velvet Lounge sets reveals more on further listens. The DKV Trio has, with this two-disc set, become a band worthy of space in any collection of seminal improvised music.

— Doug Lang, Coda, issue 294 (November/December 2000)

This astounding double CD live set is proof that you should never make a year-end “best of” list until December 31. I heard this December 10, and promptly regretted a list I had e-mailed off earlier in the week. I’m not the first person to say this, but the trio of Hamid Drake, Kent Kessler, and Ken Vandermark is the best live band in Chicago working any genre. DKV combine rhythmic power and dexterity with melodic inventiveness and a touch that can’t be matched. These two discs, recorded at the Velvet Lounge in Chicago and the Music Unlimited ’98 Festival in Wels are proof positive.

The first disc is six pieces based on a Don Cherry theme called “Complete Communion”. It’s a wonder to her the trio weave in and out of Cherry’s melodic theme, adding and subtracting each instrument. Kessler and Drake are especially attuned to each other. As anyone who has seen Hamid Drake can testify, his arsenal of percussion instruments is always deployed carefully and never for mere sensation. Whether it’s a regular kit or a variety of ethnic drums, Drake plays it close to the other members of the trio, and his experience playing reggae and African music lets him move into a rhythmic pocket that makes DKV practically airtight. Ths is vivid on the second disc, where the trio hits a distinctively warm, bluesy sensibility at times. Ken Vandermark’s broad, hearty sax playing only adds to this impression.

There’s enough going on across both discs here to lure you in for many listening sessions. The trio breaks down into solos and duets, then joins together and moves from loud to quiet with grace and passion. As an improvising group DKV are wonderfully sympathetic and the live venue seems to be their playground. This set catches them at their peak.

— Bruce Adams, Your Flesh #43 (Spring/Summer 2000)