"This live recording finds the collaborative trio of Rempis, Johnston, and Ochs hard at work in the middle of their first full-on North American tour in May of 2015. Documenting a concert from the landmark venue Hallwalls in Buffalo, NY, the trio follows up on their previous release, 2014’s Spectral, having taken their unique approach to spontaneous composition to the next level through the crucible that only touring can provide. On this new recording they tackle two pieces that are significantly more extended than the ones documented on their earlier release, while still employing the same core strategy that made that recording so compelling; an ability to look far down the road in order to anticipate the larger structures that can emerge from even the slightest gesture. The trio moves with patience, and capitalizes on space, waiting for the appropriate moments to strike, always at the service of the ensemble motion. "
"n the fall of 2013, Rempis and Zerang had just finished a week in Krakow, Poland, working with Ken Vandermark’s Resonance Ensemble. They continued on to perform as a duo at concerts in Warsaw and Vienna, before meeting Harnik in her hometown of Graz, Austria to explore this first-time trio grouping at a well-known concert venue called WIST. Happily, Austrian National Radio (ORF) got wind of the occasion, and decided to make a recording for live broadcast, a document presented here. "
"This particular recording was made over two nights in December of 2012 live at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill Cocktail Lounge as part of trombonist Jeb Bishop’s 50th birthday celebration, and it does a great job of showing these tactics at work. Although in this context – a packed weekend house at a more traditional “jazz” venue - the band opted to begin each improvisation with one of their tunes, you can hear them employ these arrangement tactics over and over once they make it through the first lap. So although you’ll hear a couple of the same compositions performed from one night to the next, that material is sandwiched in between the other pre-composed material in drastically different ways with no pre-conception or roadmap of what might come next. "
The Chicago Reed Quartet
"Four generations of Chicago saxophonists join forces in this collaborative quartet, each one separated in age by almost exactly ten years. This wasn’t a calculated decision when Rempis and Vandermark first brainstormed the idea of the group in late 2013. The lineup came together based purely on the musical affinity of the personalities involved. (Oddly enough, Mazzarella and Williams had also been discussing the idea of forming a saxophone quartet at that time). However, the complex web of musical collaborations between these four musicians in countless combinations dating back twenty-five years, as well as their differing perspectives on composition, improvisation, and the instruments themselves, combine to reveal a truly cross-sectional perspective on the Chicago improvised music scene. Although an unintended consequence of the lineup that Rempis and Vandermark initiated, this accidental result may be one of the most intriguing perspectives from which to look at the quartet’s music. These eight pieces, two compositions from each of the band members, were workshopped extensively in 2014, with regular rehearsals and concerts in Chicago throughout the winter and spring. This recording was made mostly in one day, all in single takes, on a laid-back, closed-door, summer afternoon session at Chicago’s Hungry Brain. And within these eight pieces, one can hear an ongoing artistic dialogue that stretches back for decades."
Cash and Carry
The Rempis Percussion Quartet
"On August 31st, 2014, The Rempis Percussion Quartet celebrated its tenth year in existence with an increasingly rare hometown concert at Chicago’s venerable Hungry Brain, a bar whose dark, relaxed, and frequently hard-drinking atmosphere helped to define more than a decade of the Chicago improvised music scene. The band had cut its teeth with regular performances at the Brain in the mid-aughts, but sadly, this would be the last time they hit the stage before the bar’s impending closure at the end of 2014. To up the stakes a bit further, that night also marked the end of the 2014 Chicago Jazz Festival. As usual, the multitudes of fans and world class musicians visiting for that event packed in with the Chicago regulars to hear what the local guys might deliver on their home turf. The band didn’t disappoint. The talking ceased immediately as they hit the stage, channeling the significant emotional energy of the evening directly into two sets of fiery music, once again taking the reins as one of the hardest-hitting bands to emerge from the Chicago scene in the past decade. On this document of the night’s festivities, you can hear the group dive in face first, working over every facet of the simple melodies and grooves that form the underlying basis of their extended improvisations, tearing them apart, and reconstructing them in a multitude of new ways."
From Wolves To Whales
"Having crossed paths around the world many times over the years, Nate Wooley and Dave Rempis finally realized their long-time intention of forming a band together in the winter of 2014, with a lineup that can only be described as stellar. Featuring some of the leading lights of both the New York and Chicago improvised music scenes, the four members of this quartet, all internationally acclaimed players in their own right, found a common language as a unit right from the start. This first document of their work was made in the studio following three concerts in Manhattan and Brooklyn in February of 2014, and the inventive and a-typical flow of their improvisations shows a band operating at a higher level of creativity from the get-go. Meanwhile, the broad stylistic range that they tackle, from microcosmic sound pallets to passages bounding with unbridled energy, shows a new group with a myriad of musical possibilities already under its belt. From Wolves To Whales, the debut recording by this quartet, sets the stage for a future of fruitful collaborations to come."
Worse For The Wear
"The fifth release by this powerful working trio in as many years shows a band once again not afraid to come out of the gate swinging. As always, these three individual virtuosos combine their unique talents to put forth a churning mix of hard-driving grooves and well-forged power. However, as the band has continued to work and tour together regularly for the past five years, their music continues to find new avenues of expression. On this recording, Worse For The Wear, Ballister’s trademark raw energy is tempered by a mix of introspective soundscapes and moments of quiet beauty that create a listening experience of great complexity. Recorded live in Chicago during the trio’s spring 2014 U.S. Tour, this release shows a band that continues to grow, slowly and patiently, further refining its sound into a tightly structured unit of remarkable depth and richness."
"This free-improvising trio came together in the fall of 2011, when Rempis journeyed to the West Coast to discover some things about his compatriots on the Bay Area improving scene. Trumpeter Johnston, a frequent visitor to Chicago, where the two had collaborated in several different settings in the years prior, suggested this trio lineup for a performance at Oakland’s Uptown Nightclub. Although Rempis hadn’t worked with Ochs before, the latter’s renowned experience in the all-horn lineup of ROVA made the idea especially appealing. From the first few notes, that initial meeting flowed comfortably, yet in totally unexpected ways, with all three making logical structural decisions that gave their improvisations the feel of through-composed pieces. Eager to continue developing this language that the three later came to dub “invisible architecture,” Rempis made a follow-up trip to the Bay Area in the spring of 2012 for two more concerts and a studio recording session. Spectral, the first document of their work, was the result of that visit, and shows an improvising trio playing out an audible game of chess. Not satisfied with simply existing in the moment, these three combine sensibilities to look many moves ahead, setting each other up time and again to capitalize on structural possibilities that give rare and meaningful form to an otherwise very spontaneous music."