Digital

Hef

Terrie Ex & Ab Baars

2000

"In English there's a related idiom: Dutch courage. That's when intoxication makes you fearless. Perhaps a fitting image for Ab Baars and Terrie Ex on their first record of duets, "Hef". I'm not referring to literal drunkenness, of course, but a figurative image of being tanked, a thoroughly internalized sense of dizzy, giddy musical interaction, bravery to try things you'd know you wouldn't/ shouldn't when sober. Ab is creative music's official drunken master (past masters: Ben Webster, Archie Shepp), and the marvelous Mr. Ex is a very worthy drunkboxing partner. In Ab's tenor especially, I hear this approach (keep in mind, Chan only turns to drunken boxing when pushed to do so!) - a loopy, wild, off-kilter phraseology that's precise and imprecise in the right balance, or rather in the right relation. In the twosome's opener, "Oud Over", Ab lurches and sways like a sot. But beware, 'cause just when you think he'll topple over, he turns into a bloodthirsty silver machine, attacking the jugular and slicing in tandem with Terrie's electric chicken-scratch scrapple of strings. Listen on "Stokdutter" as the guitarist's metallic shards combust behind Baars' slow-motion clarinet, unfazed by sudden motion - two temporalities superimposed, the unreality of unitary chronological time for a buzzed man. The drunken master works at his own pace. What's it take to make music like "Hef"? A liter and a half of Dutch courage. –John Corbett, Chicago, January 2000"

Hit The Ground Running

Rempis/Piet/Daisy

2017

"On the traumatic day after the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States on November 8th, 2016, a recording session had been scheduled at Elastic Arts in Chicago for a new trio. Two members of the trio – Dave Rempis and Tim Daisy, had been working together in various contexts in the Chicago improvised music scene for years. They were invited by up-and-coming piano wunderkind Matt Piet to be a part of an ongoing series of first meetings that he’d released on his Amalgam imprint. (This recording soon came out as Cure For The Quotidian) The feeling in the room, in the city of Chicago, and around much of the United States was dark in a way no one had ever before experienced. The music that came out that day was an honest and direct expression of that energy. Afterwards, Piet threw out the idea of a benefit concert to coincide with the new “president’s” inauguration. Daisy spearheaded the charge, and put together a stellar event at Elastic Arts on January 21st, 2017, the same day as the monumental Women’s March that took place around the world. The concert featured a solo set by Darin Gray, the debut of Ken Vandermark’s new quintet Marker, the duo of Ben Lamar Gay and Ayana Contreras, and this trio. The energy of that evening was indescribable – the packed room felt defiant yet loving, angry yet calm, fearful yet fully empowered to take on the new reality of the unimaginable political situation in our country. And the music from each group reflected those feelings in a different and powerful way. "