Amsterdam Meets Chicago:
Ab Baars Trio & Ken Vandermark in Houston

Ab Baars Trio pic #1
Ab Baars Trio.

Most experienced audiences of improvised music in Houston have witnessed performers trying out new sounds on stage, treating their sonic tools with curiosity or even playing without any real intention. Incidences like this seem to happen a lot in Houston, where improvising musicians have no pressure to conform to a movement, as there is really none. And there is also no material to compete for, making Houston the perfect breeding ground for true freedom in artistic creativity. With that said, it's always nice when master musicians from out of town come and play. In this case, it's Amsterdam meets Chicago on Saturday, April 11th, via the Ab Baars Trio and Ken Vandermark, who're playing at Talento Bilingue de Houston.
The Dutch group Ab Baars Trio is tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and shakuhachi flutist Ab Baars, bassist Wilbert de Joode, and drummer Martin van Duynhoven. Their sound is colorful, playful, and catchy. That is to say, the catchy-ness comes from their penchant for probing into limited material rather than from sounding poppy. That combined with their wacky use of rhythm makes the group's sound unique but accessible to audiences unacquainted with improvised music.
Ken Vandermark is a Chicago-based tenor saxophonist and clarinetist, named one of the most significant improvisers under forty by Downbeat magazine. He's one of the most influential improviser in the Chicago music scene, where he leads more than a dozen bands and curates events that showcase new music.
Personally, there's not much in music more exciting than two saxophonists playing "out" side by side, live, merging their entities, breathing the same air, and thriving off the same energy. It's yet another promising night of great music in Houston. END

The Ab Baars Trio and Ken Vandermark play Saturday, April 11th at Talento Bilingue de Houston (333 South Jensen Dr.). $13 general admission, $10 students, under 18 free; 8PM.