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Musician 2007

  • Daniel Kraus
  • May 19, 2007
  • 60 mins
  • Documentary, Music
Common sense says you can't make a living in America playing avant-garde improvisational jazz. But Ken Vandermark does it anyway. Among musicians, Vandermark's work ethic is almost mythic. The Chicago reed player has released over 100 albums with nearly 40 ensembles, spends over eight months per year on the road, and lives every other waking moment composing, arranging, performing—and trying to discipline his two hyperactive canines. Though Vandermark was the recipient of a 1999 MacArthur genius grant, he still spends most of his life in smoky clubs and low-budget recording studios, hoping people will plunk down hard-earned cash to hear his wholly non-commercial music. Following the artful cinéma vérité style of the internationally acclaimed Sheriff (Work Series #1), Musician (Work Series #2) forgoes all interviews and voice-overs. It is a fly-on-the-wall time capsule that expertly captures every subtle sound and texture of this most American of art forms.

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