TVD Recommends: Daisy/Vandermark Duo

When the trombonist Jeff Albert started the Open Ears Music Series in 2007, he was just looking for a place for local improvising musicians to call home. Since then, the series has evolved into a well-respected music scene that is known in the tight-knit community of free musicians as the place to play in New Orleans.

Though the city has its fair share of “out” players, including the local dean of improvising saxophone, Edward “Kidd” Jordan, it has never been known as a place that nurtures musicians that choose to defy the stifling restrictions of genre. Consider Jazz Fest—even though the annual event always manages to bring in a few national and internationally known jazz artists each year, they never present acts that are on the cutting edge of where jazz is headed. They tend to focus on where jazz has been.

But that may change. Since the advent of the Open Ears Series lots of local musicians are exposing audiences to the other side of their musical personas. Established artists like Albert, as well as up and coming talents like the saxophonist Aurora Nealand and the cellist Helen Gillet, who are often seen playing in more traditional ensembles, let it all hang out when they play at Open Ears.

Additionally, the reputation of the Open Ears Series is spreading. There have been a number of international musicians that have already played upstairs at the Blue Nile, but tonight the event reaches into the stratosphere with the appearance of the Tim Daisy and Ken Vandermark Duo.

For the first time, they are suggesting a donation of $10. All of the previous shows have been free and open to the public with a tip jar. But Daisy and Vandermark represent the crème de la crème of improvising musicians.

Daisy is a drummer and percussionist. Vandermark is a saxophonist and clarinetist, but the instruments they play are not the most important aspect of listening to this music. It’s how they approach sound.

Here’s a quote from their press materials to get you excited about this show: They concentrate on investigating the possibilities of free improvisation through their combined experiences working within a wide variety of improvised and composed musical settings over the years. Drawing on numerous influences including American and European free jazz, experimental rock, free improvisation, soul and funk as well as 20th century contemporary music and visual art, they combine their creative energies to further explore and assemble sound in an improvised context. Tim and Ken aim to make each performance unique by tirelessly searching for new ways to keep the music fresh and encouraging each other to play beyond their potential.”

The show starts at 10 PM.

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