The Tesla coil that the Vandermark 5 has become seems beyond built to last; the creative whole constantly outweighs the sum of the parts in this quintet. To see the V5 live, on top of their game is like watching a perfectly-calibrated NBA championship team deliver with the fluidity & vocabulary of skills required for greatness. At their best, each player knows their strengths & respective place, and manages to put aside ego for the advancement the group's collective goals. Each album in the V5's discography has been captivating, tuneful, muscular & focused; but Acoustic Machine, their annual installment for 2001, is likely their most distilled effort yet. Bishop, Kessler, Mulvenna, Rempis and Vandermark continue to grow as a quintet and as individuals, by somehow simultaneously honing and widening their purview. Beyond the previously acquired levels of technical mastery on display in Acoustic Machine, the telekinetic factors at play in the V5 are simply multiplying on an exponential level now- enabling group pursuit of greater compositional nuances & interplay that previously might have been more daunting. As the tradition goes, Ken has chosen to dedicate each tune on Acoustic Machine to a particularly influential artist in his own development; the "HBF Series"- the first short pieces ever released by the group- are an homage to visionary minimalist composer Morton Feldman; Archie Shepp, Elvin Jones, Julius Hemphill, Stan Getz & Lester Young also "get theirs". If the mere existence of a brand-new V5 album hasn't got you excited yet, Acoustic Machine is also available in a 1500-unit Limited Edition version: the full-length bonus disc "Free Jazz Classics Volume 2", featuring the Five transducing gigantic vintage numbers by Shepp, Hemphill and fellow legends Carla Bley, Don Cherry, Jimmy Guiffre & Frank Wright. Time to get in cue yet?