"KUZU is a hard-charging but patient trio that came together in the fall of 2017, after saxophonist Dave Rempis a stalwart of the Chicago improvised music scene, worked with both Tashi Dorji (guitar) and Tyler Damon (drums) individually as part of a lengthy solo tour of the U.S. that he undertook in the spring of that year. Dorji and Damon’s work as a guitar/percussion duo has become well-known, a highly refined and specific language developed through relentless touring and recording over the last few years, with a sound that straddles improvised music, rock, and any number of as-yet-undefined territories. These two provide an incredibly fresh take on the possibilities inherent to spontaneous composition. Superimposing Rempis into this mix was a logical next step after the relationships they’d forged individually. "
Early Bird Gets
"The Early Bird Gets is the debut album by this working trio, comprised of journeyman Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis alongside two of the brightest talents in a younger generation of improvising musicians. Bassist Brandon Lopez is a musician whose virtuosity knows no bounds, currently one of the most in-demand bassists on the New York jazz and improvised music scene. Percussionist Ryan Packard counters that depth with his own breadth of interests, working in contemporary classical ensembles, indie rock bands, and jazz groups alike around Chicago, not to mention his doubling abilities on electronics. These two together provide a formidable rhythm section that can veer from hard-driving grooves to luscious soundscapes with total ease. As a trio, these three have put forth a work that may be the “jazziest” project any of them are involved with; a result that even the band members found surprising. But after honing their sound through live gigs in 2017 and early 2018, it became apparent that their free-improvised conversation kept returning to a similar destination: a three-way exploration of rhythm and tempo that left them working solidly within the jazz tradition. Not the one fixed into predictable sylistic corners, but the one defined by a spirit of boundless curiosity and exploration. A tradition they stretched back and forth like so much taffy. "
"This transatlantic trio combines musical sensibilities derived from their experiences in two world capitals of improvised music, Chicago and Amsterdam. Rempis and Rosaly, both longtime staples of the Chicago scene, have partnered for more than 15 years, most significantly in the Rempis Percussion Quartet and Rempis/Rosaly Duo. The two met guitarist/bassist Jasper Stadhouders at the Moers Festival in 2009 where the three shared a stage on the legendary “morning sessions.” Despite being only 18 years old, Stadhouders was a presence to be dealt with, his energy and aesthetic already developed into a cohesive whole. "
"This collaborative trio featuring three mid-career artists with deep roots in the Chicago improvised music scene puts forth a stunning and austere debut, a chamber-like exploration in which their three voices intertwine seamlessly into one multi-headed unit. Although each member is no doubt comfortable as a soloist, with significant leader credits under each of their belts, here they shirk that approach in favor of a music that is unflinchingly interactive and group-oriented. In this context, solo explorations don’t drive the music, but instead the sum of the three parts together delivers an unstoppable momentum recalling the type of egalitarian interactions pioneered by the trio of Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Bley, and Steve Swallow in the early 1960’s. The resulting pieces, each one a thoroughly unique and cohesive landscape, deliver a strikingly clear example of what’s possible when musicians with broad interests in all types of contemporary musical expression combine their aesthetics in a non-genre and non-stylistically bound approach. Rempis, Reid, and Abrams deliver a wholly original sound on this recording, straddling the intersections of free improvisation, contemporary classical, jazz, and folk musics from around the world, without being contained by the precepts of any one of those influences."
The Rempis/Daisy Duo & Guests
"Dodecahedron, the third duo recording by saxophonist Dave Rempis and percussionist Tim Daisy, celebrates a special mile-marker in the musical history of these long-time partners, as 2018 marks the twentieth anniversary of their duo pairing. These two have formed the backbone of well-known working bands dating back to 1997, when they first met in Chicago, including Triage, The Vandermark Five, The Rempis Percussion Quartet, and The Engines. But that list only scratches the surface, accounting for just a portion of likely more than a thousand gigs they’ve played together over that time. On the first disc of this new two-disc set, recorded live at Elastic Arts in Chicago in October 2017, you can hear every nuance of that two decades of shared experience. Rempis and Daisy have logged far too many hours in the van together to suffer each other’s bullshit, and continue to undermine any whiff of cliché by pushing here, pulling there, and sometimes just outright kicking the chair out from underneath one another. There’s no hiding from family. To further celebrate this special milestone, the duo invited six guests to join them individually for two recording sessions in the summer of 2017, released here on the second disc in this set. Each of these musicians – Jason Adasiewicz, Jim Baker, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Steve Swell, Katie Young, and Aaron Zarzutzki – are friends and colleagues whose distinct personalities and long histories with Rempis and Daisy have helped to shape the duo’s approach as a unit, and as individual musicians. And each of the pieces presented here showcase yet another of the many facets contained within the duo’s complex lexicon. "
"There was nowhere to hide during this recording session, every note staring back at its creators with fearless eyes. And the resulting musical tension is palpable, as the band tosses ideas up into the air between them, and sets them spinning off into the ether, each one on their own unique path. "
The Rempis Percussion Quartet
"Interestingly, as each member’s path diverges further, the quartet tours that take place once every year or so provide the backdrop by which to measure those tectonic shifts. The music on Cochonnerie demonstrates exactly that type of shift, without moving an inch. A band that hasn’t played a gig for over a year convenes in Chicago to get reacquainted over two nights at the start of a two-week North American tour in the fall of 2015. But the idea of having a warm up period flies out the window as these four dive in fearlessly as ever. Whatever the difference in the sonic output may be on this record compared to previous outings, their fundamental commitment towards reconciling individual ideas into a coherent and compelling sound is exactly what continues to fuel the laser-beam focus and relentless energy on display here. "
Dave Rempis Solo
"Dave Rempis is a mid-career artist whose deep roots in the Chicago improvised music scene have by now stretched themselves out across the world through his multiple ongoing collaborations. But he waited a long time to put out this first solo recording. Highly aware of the singular statements in this context put forth by artists such as Coleman Hawkins, Eric Dolphy, Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Joe McPhee, Evan Parker, Ab Baars, and Mats Gustafsson to name just a few, left him wary of taking this challenge on too soon. But in the fall of 2016, the time felt right. So he decided to combine the development of a unique solo vocabulary on his instrument into the larger goal of exploring and expanding the crucial network of artists, presenters, and fans that support improvised music in the United States. In the spring of 2017, he brought the idea to fruition by undertaking a massive journey across the country, performing thirty-one solo concerts in twenty-seven different cities, while also collaborating with local artists at each stop. This singular odyssey gave him the opportunity to delve methodically, night after night, into his own process towards solo improvisation. Those labors are documented on Lattice."