The Tim Daisy Quartet
Daniel Levin + Tim Daisy
Waclaw Zimpel + Tim Daisy
Aram Shelton Quartet
Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack
Daniel Levin + Tim Daisy
Jeb Bishop + Tim Daisy
Downbeat Magazine – September 2011
Tim Daisy – Juggling Finesse And Fury
Chicago’s intimate, homey venue the
Hideout has a reputation for creative
bookings like the free-jazz outfit Klang, which
played a CD release gig there in May. The
band’s drummer, Tim Daisy, juggled finesse,
fury and fun rhythmic interplay as though he’d
filled up on ultra-high octane beforehand.
Not that Daisy had an easy assignment:
The new Klang album Other Doors (Allos
Documents) takes the music of Benny
Goodman, along with Goodman-inspired originals,
and launches it all on an improvisational
flight that ricochets from familiar themes to
ferocious flights, then back again. But Daisy,
34, has the stamina and smarts to pull it off live,
whether hitting his staccato stops with exactitude,
or chasing the torrential runs of clarinetist
James Falzone as though running sweet circles
around a twister. In Daisy’s capable hands,
the music of Goodman emerged as though telegraphed
from a Gotham back alley during the
ebb and flow of a stormy midsummer’s eve.
Daisy provides the surest foundation imaginable
for this formidable quartet. He’s also a
joy to watch; rendering the album’s title track,
Daisy whipped his brushes on the rims into
such a froth of sound that you might think
locusts had swarmed the stage.
Daisy’s adventurous playing reflects a wide
range of influences, running the gamut from
avant-garde pioneer Milford Graves to postbop
paragon Elvin Jones. Daisy also counts
himself a fan of European improvisers such as
German drummer Paul Lovens.
Closer to home, he credits fellow Chicago
musicians for toughening and tightening his
sound, and helping him find his voice as a
percussionist. “One beautiful thing about the
scene here is that we all work in various groups
together, so we get to know each other as players,”
said Daisy, who performs frequently
with acclaimed saxophonist Ken Vandermark.
Daisy and Falzone trade places as bandleaders
for the outfit Vox Arcana, which also includes
Klang contributor Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello.
Daisy says the side project has deepened
his approach to Klang’s excursions: “It’s very
structured chamber music, so there’s a different
vocabulary. You bring that back into Klang,
and it changes things in all sorts of ways.
There’s a fluidness and a synergy that creates
an expanded sense of possibility.”
Daisy has developed a great working relationship
with Vandermark: “He’s got one of the
strongest work ethics I’ve ever seen,” Daisy
says. “He’s constantly putting together bands,
setting up rehearsals, making records. I’ve
actually learned a lot just hanging out with him.
On the road, he’s taking me to art museums.”
Daisy’s two new releases are duo projects.
He recorded The Conversation (Multikulti)
with Vandermark, and The Flower And The
Bear (Relay) with cellist Daniel Levin.
In his own way, Daisy has fashioned an
approach to drums and rhythm that goes far
beyond meter and tempo, into the realm where
his playing splashes color like Jackson Pollock
one minute and renders a sublime backdrop of
cyan-tinged hues the next.
Beyond that, Daisy’s also a guy who’ll substitute
knitting needles for sticks to generate an
exotic percussive thread, or smack an ashtray
if it helps him close a musical sentence with
Chicago music lovers who haven’t seen
Daisy play should check him out soon, with
Klang or any of his other projects, because if
he has his way, the future will turn this rhythm
king into a road warrior. “I’d like to do more
touring with my own groups,” he says. “I love
traveling and meeting people, playing in front
of new crowds.” —Lou Carlozo
Ken Vandermark/Tim Daisy
“Light On The Wall” Lawrence Family Records
If you follow Chicago poly-reedist Ken Vandermark on his website or Facebook, you know that he maintains a level of critical self-scrutiny to match an analysand. His music offers plenty more action than your typical psychoanalytic hour, but his albums nonetheless resemble “the talking cure” in they way they represent nodal points in an ongoing process. Vandermark’s been working with both Paal Nilssen-Love and Tim Daisy for a decade, and his partnership with each is driven by the same remorseless drive to keep moving that characterizes every part of his career. If there’s one thing these albums share, aside from the fact that each was made by Vandermark and a guy behind a drum kit, it’s the absolute confidence on display here; the man with the horn seems absolutely sure that each drummer has his back, and each drummer proves him right. This is music that goes way out on some limbs but never falls off.
There’s a much looser dynamic at work on Daisy and Vandermark’s double LP than in their work with the Vandermark 5 or the Frame Quartet. Instead of compositions so carefully plotted and conceptualized that they come with their own meta-statements (in the form of Vandermark’s dedications), the duo just blows. Daisy has a delightful knack for swinging and decorating at the same time, so that no matter how dense and aggressive his playing becomes, there’s a resting spot somewhere in the groove. Vandermark’s contributions likewise feel especially rooted in the jazz canon, hinting at the exotic otherwordliness of Sun Ra on “Turnabout” and bar-walking extroversion on “The Empty Chair.” Only on the stark “Decollage” do they leave stated time behind. “Decollage’s” rich metal timbres and broadly leaping clarinet also point the way to the solo turn each man takes on the second LP, which is split into Daisy and Vandermark solo sides. Daisy’s seven tracks are full of space, contrast, and bustle that is very clearly stated; Vandermark confines himself to clarinet and tests the limits of technique and listenability by using Jimmy Giuffre’s most bristling work as a starting point. Lavishly packaged in a gorgeous gatefold sleeve and pressed on vinyl that seems to savor each sound for a millisecond before giving it up, it seems almost churlish to point out that the pressings are also audibly warped.
New Fracture Quartet
Waclaw Zimpel & Tim Daisy “Four Walls”