Selections from the Wire Cutter Suite

Ken Aldcroft’s Convergence Ensemble / Ken Aldcroft, Emily Denison, Wes Neal, Karen Ng, Joe Sorbara, Scott Thomson

When I joined Ken, Joe, and saxophonist Evan Shaw in Ken’s Trio + 1 in 2004, I assumed that it was a jazz group; both the material and how we approached it generally confirmed that assumption, adventurous a group as it was. However, by the time Ken merged his Trio + 1 and his Group to form the Convergence Ensemble in 2006 (with bassist Wes Neal) it was clear that he sought a group music that could accommodate his growing commitment to open improvisation and to develop compositions and arrangements that a broader range of solo and group playing could animate. In the decade that followed, through several personnel changes and now seven recordings, Ken Aldcroft’s Convergence Ensemble activated Ken’s ideas about spontaneous group arrangement through hand and aural cueing to create a scenario in which, as he would say, we could improvise to a piece, on a piece, or from a piece, with collective improvisation at the root of it all. That is the process at play on the Wire Cutter Suite, a procedure full of the same kinds of risk and attendant, felicitous successes as free playing, but which reflects, through the compositional material, a richer set of formal possibilities that can be enacted differently every time. It is exemplary of the mature work of a superb musician and dear friend who died far too soon, and this record is a vital addition to a rich recorded legacy documenting the artistic vision, hard work, and thoughtful reflection for which, during his life, Ken was known and admired. — Scott Thomson, May 2018

2 × CD (TRP 025)