Gunwale, Jacob Wick | Elastic | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Dave Rempis

Dave Rempis

Peter Gannushkin

Gunwale, Jacob Wick Recommended Soundboard All Ages

When: Thu., Sept. 29, 10 p.m. 2016
Price: $10 suggested donation
Saxophonist Dave Rempis doesn’t spend much time composing music. During the Chicago Reed Quartet’s brief existence from 2013 to 2014, he contributed some tunes, but for the most part his projects take the stage or enter the recording studio without a road map. That makes context important, and Rempis has shown a knack for assembling fascinating groups—for the Rempis Percussion Quartet he created a two-drum motor, and for his generation-spanning trio lineup he enlisted bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Avreeayl Ra. In his threesome Gunwale both of his bandmates, bassist Albert Wildeman and percussionist Ryan Packard, are younger than he and reflect somewhat divergent sensibilities—particularly the latter, who’s known best for his work with contemporary-classical outfits like Fonema Consort. But they all find common purpose on Gunwale’s recent debut, Polynya (Aerophonic), a ferocious outing charged with the heightened friction this rhythm section generates: Wildeman, for example, turns his double bass into a thrumming drum on “Wire,” while Packard plays so softly on “Bevel” his kit sounds as if it’s in another room. There’s a greater attention to texture here than is typical of other Rempis projects—particularly when the trio cools down and Packard serves up abstract electronics alongside rumbling, koanlike percussion patter while the saxophonist plays wonderful, abstract tones reveling in sibilant whistles and scrapes. That’s not to say the rhythm section lacks firepower or raw energy; it alertly responds to Rempis’s primal howls, tightly wound sallies, and violently serrated lines, and on “Liner” Wildeman and Packard even drop some off-kilter funk grooves. Gunwale is still in its early stages, and I’m eager to hear where Rempis and company take its potential.
— Peter Margasak

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