Monday, April 15, 2019

Dave Rempis / Brandon Lopez / Ryan Packard - The Early Bird Gets (Aerophonic Records, 2019)

Recorded in March and June of 2018 at Elastic Arts in Chicago, this is an excellent document of the working trio consisting of Dave Rempis on saxophones, Brandon Lopez on bass and Ryan Packard on drums and electronics. Beginning with “Crypto Vo Lans” the music quickly develops around the bass and drums, with the saxophone and drums whirling around the center of taut bass with squeals of saxophone and crisp drumming. They develop a fast and propulsive improvisation with a whirling dervish of sound, leading to a fine interlude of bass and crushingly rhythmic percussion. Rempis comes back with a tart, arresting tone from his saxophone, leading all three off into the sunset. Deep tuned saxophone saxophone with rumbling bass and skittish percussion open “Raho Navis” which drifts into a spacey slower section of plucked bass and cymbals. The pace changes with a snap as they burst into collective improvisation with sharp interplay of strong saxophone and cruising bass and drums. The trio's sense of dynamism allows them to be potent at any speed including a heavy hitting drum solo. “Archae Opteryx” uses long breathy tones of saxophone to set a mood, aside bowed bass and brushed percussion creating and abstract and haunting setting. Electronics add to the music developing huge slabs of sound that fly by framed by the quieter sections of brushes and spare bass. Heavy bass, crashing saxophone and drums usher in “Confucius Ornis” breaking out into a strong, virile and fast paced performance. After that statement of intent, they downshift, opening space for bass and spare cymbals before the pace picks back up and the gruff saxophone piles on at mid tempo. What's amazing about this group is how they can start and stop on a dime, with fast cymbals and driving bass pushing the saxophone to new heights, leading to powerhouse collective improvisation at its best. “Yan Ornis” has bowed bass scraping long tones soon met by squeals of deeply held saxophone tones creating an arresting sound that moves farther into freedom as the percussion enters. The dark toned tenor saxophone, sweeping bass and percussion work very well, building to a scouring three way improvisation that peels paint with searing saxophone and pummeling drums creating over the top goodness. The concluding track “Gansus” opens with excellent bass playing, soon joined by a swirling vortex of saxophone and drums. Their full band improvisation is out of sight and the band is like a fine automobile shifting through the gears. This is another example of the group's limitless power as the cascading drums, soaring saxophone and nimble bass playing becomes the hallmark of the trio and the music they makes. This was an excellent album from wire to wire, the musicians are at the top of their game and this album is sure to be under consideration when the best records are tallied up in December. The Early Bird Gets - Aerophonic Bandcamp

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