Dave Rempis Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Dave Rempis Quartet

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Saxophonist Dave Rempis is one of the busiest and most versatile jazz musicians in Chicago--a crucial member of groups as stylistically varied as the Vandermark 5, Triage, and the Thread Quintet. In the egalitarian quartet that bears his name, Rempis is less a leader than one of four idiosyncratic, authoritative personalities: the music on the group's recent debut, Out of Season (482 Music), sounds like an animated discussion among close friends. Rempis, drummer Tim Daisy, bassist Jason Roebke, and pianist-electronicist Jim Baker easily anticipate one another's moves: they've been playing together in this setting for a few years and have collaborated regularly in other combinations as well. Their improvisations ebb and flow powerfully, varying in density and urgency, and the musicians ingeniously reinforce evolving melodic lines, textures, and tone colors, sometimes dropping out one or two at a time to create a radically different center of gravity in the group. At one point a splintery duo passage from the rhythm section--tense, hushed metallic clatter from Daisy, clipped arco streaks and herky-jerky plucks from Roebke--draws a series of pointillistic alto stabs from Rempis. Elsewhere a whispery dialogue bursts into a cacophonous chorus of exclamatory cries--and as with most passionate conversations, you can't figure out where the change in tone came from until it's already behind you. Wednesday, May 12, 7 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 312-744-6630 (free show). Thursday, May 13, 9:30 PM, 3030, 3030 W. Cortland; 773-862-3616.

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