This show is pretty much the dream ticket for those who like their live music raw, hard and violently soulful.
Lean Left throws together two explosive duos – the sax/drums collision course of Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilsson-Love with the piledriving guitarists from The Ex – to make up a positively apocalyptic quartet: an elemental musical force featuring Grade A international players zoning in and scrambling together rock, jazz, noise and blistering free improv into a highly-charged onstage assault, each member taking their sounds and bodies to the edge and often snapping out of the wilds and into glorious passages of regular rhythm.
Chicago jazz heavyweight Ken Vandermark (sax, clarinet, and a member of The Ex’s “Brass Unbound” ensemble on their celebrated UK tour in 2010) and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love have played together since 2000 in various settings and as a duo since 2002, working within a free mode of expression while including a strong element of heavy rhythmic groove and melody … together they hit the road with Andy Moor and Terrie Ex, the guitarists from Dutch legends The Ex, who have been cross-pollinating experimental angular noise, rock and punk for 30 years, with a power and freshness unrivalled in the world of independent music. Lurching dynamically between primal, frenzied riffage and grinding textural face-off, Andy and Terrie have a musical interaction that makes sparks fly like no other guitar duo.
The music of Lean Left is extrovert, energetic, powerful and inclusive but also confrontational and provocative: where rhythm, noise, melody and harmony melt together in perfect union.
Since the mid-eighties, powerhouse Chicago-based saxophonist/clarinetist Ken Vandermark has focused on expanding the possibilities of improvised and composed music, with a creative emphasis on contemporary music that deals directly with advanced methods of improvisation. Past groups of significance include The Vandermark 5, Powerhouse Sound, The Frame Quartet, DKV Trio, The Territory Band, NRG Ensemble, AALY, The Vandermark Quartet, Spaceways Inc., FME, and School Days. In addition he works on a regular basis with the total improvisation units Sonore, Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, separate duos with the percussionists Paal Nilssen-Love and Tim Daisy, iTi, and Fire Room.
Paal Nilssen-Love is one of the most versatile and prolific drummers of his generation: his playing is not about getting from start to goal, but rather being in an everlasting process, a continuous movement where each new piece of music performed is a prolonging of the last. Paal’s portfolio includes Atomic, School Days, The Thing, Frode Gjerstad Trio, Sten Sandell Trio, Scorch Trio, Territory Band, FME, and various duo projects such as with reedmen Ken Vandermark, John Butcher, Mats Gustafsson, organist Nils Henrik Asheim and noise wizard Lasse Marhaug. He recently joined the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, and runs the All Ears improvised music festival in Oslo. “One of the best new musicians I’ve heard in recent years” – Pat Metheny
Terrie Hessels and Andy Moor provide the infernal six-string engine room of The Ex, the Dutch experimental punk legends who over the past 3 decades have voraciously devoured musical styles including noise, rock, jazz, improvisation, and ethnic music to emerge with what can only be called “Ex-music”. The open collaborative spirit that has borne Lean Left has also seen the group pair up with figureheads such as Ethiopian saxophonist Getachew Mekuria, free jazz drum warrior Hans Bennink and Swedish improv reeds man Mats Gustafsson (as part of The Ex + Brass Unbound tour in 2010 that also featured Ken Vandermark). Terrie and Andy’s discordant, highly rhythmic guitars are the potent sonic fulcrum of The Ex’s combustible live shows.