Rempis Percussion Quartet | Hungry Brain | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Rempis Percussion Quartet Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sun., Sept. 1, 10 p.m. 2013

Two of the four tracks on Phalanx (Aerophonic), the new double CD by the Rempis Percussion Quartet, open with flash points—a ferocious saxophone squawk or a swift metallic clang—and explode into extroverted rushes of high-volume sound. Of course, because these entirely improvised pieces all last at least 26 minutes, Rempis, drummers Frank Rosaly and Tim Daisy, and bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten cool their jets for significant stretches during each one (two were recorded in Milwaukee, two in Antwerp), throttling back so that the thrilling give-and-take within the group becomes audible. Daisy and Rosaly have never sounded better—they ricochet off each other without losing the thread and drop accents like they’re finishing each other’s sentences—and though they play with the ferocity of two drummers, they often impart less weight and density than just one. Rempis’s volatile fire-breathing on alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones drives the music, pulling the others along in its wake or signaling the next direction. The band’s tendency to begin with a detonation seems to push Rempis into the realm of the subconscious, where his instincts can take him beyond his favorite licks and gambits into true spontaneous creativity. The stretches of relative repose on the 48-minute “Anti-Goons” (from the Antwerp disc) include sounds that you might hear in an old-school jazz ballad, but there’s nothing wrong with that; they almost seem like an unavoidable by-product of the intense physicality the group sustains elsewhere. No matter how or why they do it, though, the Rempis Percussion Quartet have reached their most electric heights yet on Phalanx. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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