Performance: Ken Vandermark and PNL
Friday, August 30 at 7pm
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center {120 College Street}
TICKETS – $15 General Admission / $10 BMCM+AC members + Students w/ID
BMCM+AC presents the duo Ken Vandermark (reeds) and PNL (drums) for a high-energy evening concert.

The high impact duo of PNL (drums) and Ken Vandermark (reeds) has been working together for more than two decades, touring in Europe, the United States, Japan, and Brazil, and releasing 11 albums of critically acclaimed, wide ranging improvised music throughout that period. Though they have both worked in many other exceptional groups- such as the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and Lean Left (with Terrie Hessels and Andy Moor of The Ex)- they have continued to return to their duo for more than 20 years because it remains crucial to their creative output.

PNL and Vandermark began this collaboration when they recorded their initial album, Dual Pleasure, for the label Smalltownsupersound, in 2002.  Shortly afterward, they performed their first concert at the Molde International Jazz Festival. Since then, they’ve performed on an international basis every year. Their approach to the duo context is ferocious in its intensity, combining extreme rhythmic velocity with formal deconstruction and re-assembly, with the freedom to use any genre as a resource at any time. In many ways, PNL and Vandermark are more open in this setting than with any of their other playing situations, creating a unique approach to improvised music that is riveting in its ideas and execution.

Photo of Ken Vandermark + PNL by Konrad Żelazo

The duo’s most recent tours occurred in both Brazil and Japan during 2019.  The pair will return to Japan in January of 2024, for a series of concerts that will coincide with the release of the PNL & Ken Vandermark: JAPAN 2019 boxset of recordings, which includes collaborations with legendary Japanese musicians: Akira Sakata, Masahiko Satoh, and Yuji Takahashi.

Gordon Beeferman - The Stardust Reunion Band with Everett Bradley, Nicki Richards, Keith Fluitt (Voices); Joel Harrison (Guitar and Voice); Gordon Beeferman (Piano); Chulo Gatewood (Bass); Tony Lewis (Drums); Andy Clausen (Trombones); Dave Smith (Trumpet); Ben Kono, Stacey Dillard, Lisa Parrot (Woodwinds) at Joel Harrison's New Works - Roulette 01-26-23

Ken Vandermark photo by Marek Lazarski

Ken Vandermark (USA 1964) is an avant-garde composer, improviser, saxophonist/clarinetist, curator, and writer; in 1999 was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in music.  He moved to Chicago from Boston in 1989 and has worked continuously from the early 1990s onward, both as a performer and organizer in North America, Europe, Latin America, Japan, and Ethiopia, recording in a large array of contexts, with many internationally renowned musicians.

His current group activity includes the bands Edition Redux, Lean Left, The DKV Trio, DEK, his large ensemble Entr’acte, the ongoing Momentum projects; duos with Terrie Ex, Christof Kurzmann, Damon Locks, PNL, Mars Williams, and Nate Wooley; and work as a solo performer.  Ken co-founded Catalytic Sound in 2012, an organization dedicated to the economic sustainability of creative improvising musicians and has been its director since then.  In 2014 he began Audiographic Records, an independent music label.  Since June of 2015 Ken has been co-curator of Option, a music and interview series held at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago.  Half of each year is spent touring in Europe, North America, Latin America, and Japan; his concerts and numerous recordings have been critically acclaimed at home and abroad.

PNL was born in Molde, Norway, and raised at a jazz club in Stavanger run by his parents. It was natural to choose his fathers drums as his instrument and jazz as his work. From 1990 on he took actively part in the jazz milieu in Stavanger and joined bands with established musicians such as trumpeter Didrik Ingvaldsen and saxophonist Frode Gjerstad. He studied at the Jazz dept at the University in Trondheim, where the first self initiated bands were established, and things developed really fast – PNL was nationally acknowledged at the age of 20.

The forming of the quartet Element in 1993 in many ways represented the start of a new phase in PNL’s musical life. Element musically became a platform for several other groups with bassist Flaten and pianist Wiik, and lead to collaborations with Iain Ballamy and Chris Potter, amongst others.

Gordon Beeferman - The Stardust Reunion Band with Everett Bradley, Nicki Richards, Keith Fluitt (Voices); Joel Harrison (Guitar and Voice); Gordon Beeferman (Piano); Chulo Gatewood (Bass); Tony Lewis (Drums); Andy Clausen (Trombones); Dave Smith (Trumpet); Ben Kono, Stacey Dillard, Lisa Parrot (Woodwinds) at Joel Harrison's New Works - Roulette 01-26-23

PNL, photo by Peter Gannushkin

PNL moved to Oslo in 1996, where he joined and/or took part in the forming of bands like Vindaloo, SAN, Håkon Kornstad Tio, The Quintet and Frode Gjerstad Trio. He later on got more into self initiated projects and collaborations with Swedish musicians, such as pianist Sten Sandell and saxophonist Mats Gustafsson. PNL played his first solo concert in 1999, and since then the solo concept has been an important part of his work. His solo album “Sticks and stones” was put out in 2001 on SOFA Rec. Being active in several bands at the same time has always been PNL’s deliberate working method. He is constantly conscious about the projects he is in, as his participation in each and one of them is fully dedicated. 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 prolongation of the latest. Today PNL’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, and the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet. Before turning 30 PNL cemented his position as one of the most profiled drummers in Europe today. He has given countless performances at festivals and clubs in Europe and USA and participated on more than 50 recordings. He runs his own annual festival – All Ears – for improvised music in Oslo.