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Dave Rempis

Dave Rempis

Dave Rempis, Joshua Abrams, and Avreeayl Ra 

When: Wed., Jan. 29, 9:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $8
When a freely improvised group prominently features saxophonist Dave Rempis, its music tends to be fiery and bulldozer intense. He’s furiously propulsive, usually locking in with a drummer (or with two in the Rempis Percussion Quartet) and riding even the swiftest rhythms like an unsinkable raft on tumbling rapids. But in this relatively new trio with bassist Joshua Abrams and percussionist Avreeayl Ra, he shows off a surprisingly gentle side. The group has just released its first album, Aphelion (Aerophonic), and on its brief opening piece, “Ruah,” Rempis blows quiet, tender washes on baritone saxophone, his breathy long tones and gentle melodic fragments only occasionally spiked with acrid low-end honks and upper-register squeaks; meanwhile his partners summon a meditative, floating calm with a small harp and a kalimba. The 26-minute “Noria” eventually builds up a good head of steam, but it begins whispery and gentle, ramping up gradually rather than going from zero to 60 in seconds like Rempis frequently does. Ra is one of Chicago’s loudest, most explosive drummers, and every so often he does let loose here; Abrams consistently supplies counterbalance, his cool patience and woody, warming tone clearing space and girding the playing of the others. Rempis sometimes tears it up too, but this limber outfit is the most organically ebbing-and-flowing band I’ve ever heard him lead. —Peter Margasak Cale Arthur and Lawrence Peters spin records.

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