I recently heard Ken Vandermark & Nate Wooly duet at the Seattle Earshot Jazz Festival.  Familiar with Vandermark, Wooley was a new name to me and together the two tore the roof off the place, Vandermark playing clarinet, baritone sax, and lastly, tenor saxophone. Throughout their investigations there was a balance between form and free exploration –the one often suddenly breaking into the other with surprising synchrony–  and the level of interplay and sensitivity between the two was so uncannily high that it seemed they were a single organism with two horns.  With that said, Ken dedicated their duets to the influence of John Carter and Bobby Bradford’s duets –names I was totally ignorant of despite a wide and deep outside jazz collection.

In Laurence Svirchev’s article John Carter: The Unbelievalbe Possibilities of Music, he writes, “Carter and Bradford’s duet work is characterized by telepathic interplay, ability to hit and hold the same high tones simultaneously mid-improvisation, and their phenomnal ability to alter tempi at will without sacrificing the forward motion and logic of the composition. One never feels that they are displaying technique, but rather that they are achieving a musical end through the use of harmonic and melodic devices.”

Bobby Bradford-John Carter Quintet

On the new Vandermark/Wooley recording with Paul Lytton (percussion) and Ikue Mori (laptop) they’re called The Nows which can be had directly from their  label, Clean Feed.

by Alexander