An MVP of the resurgent Chicago jazz scene, saxophonist Ken Vandermark has led or co-led more than twenty recordings by more than ten groups since 1994. These efforts have touched base with everything from jazz standards to full-throttle Free Improvisation, with the Vandermark 5 -- perhaps his central project -- sitting somewhere in between. The group centers on the leader's resourceful writing, which typically takes an episodic, multi-sectioned approach to composition though still giving the soloists plenty of room to move. And while this certainly isn't a Fusion group, there's a definite rock influence at work. The track "Vent," for example, begins with a squall of distorted guitar before settling into an off-kilter Bop theme, eventually giving way to a screaming sax solo and finally exiting on a funky, odd-metered groove. Innovative, unpredictable music that communicates on a gut level.