Engines | Elastic | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Engines Recommended All Ages Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: 2009

Trombonist Jeb Bishop, drummer Tim Daisy, bassist Nate McBride, and saxophonist Dave Rempis are all rainmakers when they improvise and showstoppers when they solo, and as the Engines they all do plenty of both. Even so, the band is first and foremost a composers’ collective. Each member contributes material, and their tunes contain coherent sequences of stylistically dissimilar passages—a kind of structure that almost never arises from pure improvisation. On Rempis’s episodic “Free Range,” from the Engines’ second album, Wires and Brass (recorded live at the Hungry Brain a year ago and due on Okka Disk in June), frantic free blowing resolves into a beautifully mournful horn chorale that’s juxtaposed against grimy slabs of bass feedback; this in turn morphs into a freewheeling bebop steeplechase. Bishop, Daisy, and Rempis have been or still are members of the Vandermark 5, a group that can make densely charted music breathe by working it out in public every week—and the Engines are doing something similar by playing every Tuesday through early May at Elastic. —Bill Meyer

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