Trio Rempis-Johnston-Ochs with Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake, Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake, Trio Rempis-Johnston-Ochs Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sun., Aug. 25, 10 p.m. 2013

Bay Area trumpeter Darren Johnston first visited Chicago in the mid-aughts, quickly establishing ties with local musicians that have yielded recordings, ongoing partnerships, and shared gigs here and in California. But of course he also has enduring alliances back home, including one with tenor and sopranino saxophonist Larry Ochs (ROVA Saxophone Quartet, What We Live, Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core). Last year Johnston hosted Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis at a concert that also included Ochs, and when the three men got onstage together, the chemistry was immediate and incendiary. Horn-only ensembles tend to fall into two categories: either they take a figure-and-ground approach, with one or more players acting as a de facto rhythm section, or they turn into free-for-all blowouts. This trio’s music is like improvised carpentry, making elegant constructions out of each horn’s complete range of sounds, both customary and unexpected. Home listeners won’t get a chance to buy the record the group made for Rempis’s Aerophonic label until next year, but you can hear them tonight in concert, both on their own and with the immortal percussion duo of Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake. The trio also plays two sets at the Hideout on Wed 8/21, and at Elastic on Thu 8/22 Johnston and Ochs improvise in small groups with Amsterdam-based reedist Michael Moore and several locals. —Bill Meyer

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