The Rempis Percussion Quartet: Rip Tear Crunch (2006)
The first striking thing about this music is the sense of space which just could have been the last outcome from a quartet lineup that includes two drummers. As it turns out, this music has a suppleness and flexibility that bodes well for the future of the group, as well as for any listener who gets pleasure from hearing a working band evolve on record.
Dave Rempis's alto sax has something of the work of Marion Brown about it, and during times when some influences seem all-pervasive while others seem at best negligible, it's nice to get the impression that someone has actually been paying attention to Brown's always subtle uses of tone and shade. On "Shreds Rempis also shows that he knows the value of understatement; there isn't a surplus note to be heard.
At some 26 minutes, the title track embodies the heart of the disc at the same time as it arguably outstays its welcome, despiteor perhaps because ofits episodic nature. Tim Daisy and Frank Rosaly do show some remarkable dovetailing at their two sets of percussion, but the fact remains that Rempis resorts to a variety of squally note-scattering on baritone sax that can get a little wearing. In the midst of it, bassist Anton Hatwitch seems almost to play the role of a postmodern Jimmy Garrison.
The twelve-minute closer, "The Rub, is a radically different affair, episodically evoking as it does the spirit of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. This is no bad thing in view of the fact that such rarefied group interplay these days seems to be an unfairly devalued musical currency.
If this disc can be viewed as the setting out of a stall, then it has succeeded admirably in that aim. With any luck this group will stay together long enough and record together often enough to offer an ongoing overview of its work in progress.
Track Listing: Shreds; Flank; Rip Tear Crunch; Dirty Work Can Be Clean Fun; The Rub.
Personnel: Dave Rempis: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones; Anthony Hatwitch: bass; Tim Daisy: percussion; Frank Rosaly: percussion.