Ken Vandermark (US) - reeds
Nate McBride (US) - double bass
Paal Nilssen-Love (N) - drums & percussion
FME (Free Music Ensemble) brings together the diverse musical skills and interests of three important musicians from the global improvised music scene: bassist Nate McBride (Boston/USA), drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (Oslo/Norway), and reedist Ken Vandermark (Chicago/USA).
Vandermark began thinking about forming this group in the late 1990s when he and McBride started discussions concerning new ways to think about composing and performing for a contemporary "jazz" ensemble. What were the common threads in the various forms of music and art that they were interested in? Could these elements be brought together and work in conjunction with each other, and if so, how?
It became clear through these ongoing talks that it would be necessary to form a small unit of musicians who had the broadest interests and abilities possible: familiarity with American jazz concepts and European free improvisation principles; ability to work with written materials without having them restrict improvisational tactics; interest in an encyclopedic range of musical styles, forms, history; and having an inclusionary stance towards these components- anything that functioned as an inspiring platform for improvisation could and should be used. This clearly was a heavy task. It was not until Vandermark met Nilssen-Love in the spring of 2000 (when the quintet, School Days, was formed) did he feel he had the specific players he needed: McBride and Nilssen-Love were musicians who could meet all the requirements he was looking for.
FME was set in motion in June of 2001, when a preliminary series of rehearsals and a performance in Boston confirmed that the trio had the right chemistry to accomplish what Vandermark was seeking to do with the ensemble. The year 2002 will be the start of international exposure for the band: through a tour of Scandinavia in February/March, a tour of the United States in November/December, and a CD release of original material in the fall, also tour of Europe in spring 2003.
Okkadisk OD 12061
Live at Glenn Miller café
FME, ODL 10007