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

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Rempis Percussion Quartet

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The name of Dave Rempis's latest group is fair warning: never before has the local saxophonist led a band that hit this hard. Bassist Anton Hatwich provides a stable fulcrum with his thrumming, insistent vamps, around which drummers Frank Rosaly and Tim Daisy, both on trap sets, play a dynamic array of swinging beats, interlocking Latin motifs, martial cadences, and nuanced, meterless textures. Even at full throttle the two drummers mesh precisely, despite their divergent styles: Rosaly's is fluid and sinuous, busy with double-kick flutters, while Daisy's is more spiky and agitated. Rempis sketches keening alto and tenor lines across the surface, taking a more overtly melodic tack than he does in Triage or his free-improv quartet with Jim Baker. At other times he switches to baritone and plunges down into the ensemble's dense and surging rhythms, using his horn like yet another percussion instrument--and it's then I start thinking this might be the best new jazz band in town. The set I caught a couple weeks ago at Hotti Biscotti created an unstoppable momentum with its seamless transitions, opening with a polyrhythmic whirlwind worthy of late-60s Pharoah Sanders and building from there. Rempis and company have been gigging hard lately, preparing to go into the studio in late February; they'll have one more Chicago show before then, at 3030 on the 17th. Tue 2/1, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $3.

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