Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rempis Percussion Quartet - Rip Tear Crunch (482 Music, 2006)

Several years ago, I became a big fan of saxophonist Ken Vandermark's great jazz group The Vandermark Five, and was introduced to a vibrant and thrilling modern jazz scene in Chicago. Dave Rempis is part of the V5 and the Chicago scene, and he also leads this very exciting group, playing alto, tenor and baritone saxophone with Anton Hatwich on bass and Tim Daisy and Frank Rosaly on drums and percussion. The double drum lineup with no melody instrument makes for a very open sound, as evidenced by the opener "Shreds" which has a friendly and engaging free-bop sound. Rempis plays alto with a tart citrus feel and a hint of Eric Dolphy over ever shifting percussion and bass. Saxophone softens about halfway through the performance as the drums move to the front. "Flank" has an abstract, slow and exploratory feel. Quantum fluctuations of sax, drums and bass bubble up and fade. An epic at nearly a half hour in length, "Rip Tear Crunch" opens with some brawny baritone saxophone over strutting percussion, getting pretty wild before Rempis lays out and the bass and drums slow to a quiet throb. Rempis returns on alto slow and probing before leading the group on a series of dynamic improvisatory cells. "Dirty Work Can Be Clean Fun" is as brief as the previous song was long, roaring out of the gate with full throttle collective improv. High pitched saxophone squeals punctuate the the performance. Short and sweet, this is what a 45 RPM free jazz single would sound like if such a thing existed. "The Rub" rounds out the music with probing saxophone skittering around bowed bass. The percussionists come in and increase the pace to a fast and nervous feel. Rempis lays out for a percussion duet with bowed bass commentary before coming back and leading the group to a storming free conclusion. I enjoyed this disc quite a bit, the energy and excitement of the music made for very compelling listening. The extra percussion makes for some interesting textures and the music benefits from it and the talent of all four band members.
Rip Tear Crunch -

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