Ken Thomson and I first crossed paths back in 1997, when I was the publicist for the Knitting Factory and its first-annual [sic] Texaco Jazz Festival (formerly What Is Jazz?), and he was part of an intrepid team broadcasting multiple events for Columbia University's invaluable radio station, WKCR-FM.
Since then, I've eagerly and admiringly followed Ken's exploits as the force-of-nature reedist who fronts avant-skronk jazz quartet Gutbucket; in the new-music all-star aggregate Signal; with the composerly chamber-jazz combo slow/fast; and in the riotous Bang on a Can street band Asphalt Orchestra – the last of which you'll see tearing up the pavement anew at Lincoln Center Out of Doors this summer.
All of which makes it a distinct pleasure, if hardly a surprise, to congratulate Ken on his new status as clarinetist for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, announced mere moments ago. No question, Evan Ziporyn is a tough act to follow…but if anyone can do it, Ken can.
Watch Ken in sax-dervish mode, fronting Gutbucket in his "dOg Help Us" at Le Poisson Rouge: