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The Rempis / Daisy Duo & Guests: Dodecahedron

Mark Corroto By

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Saxophonist Dave Rempis and drummer Tim Daisy have been performing together in Chicago for decades. Their voices have been heard in Ken Vandermark's Audio One, Resonance Ensemble and The Vandermark Five, Triage (with Jason Ajemian), and their own projects, Rempis' Quartet, The Engines, Percussion Quartet (with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Frank Rosaly) and Daisy's Celebration Sextet and Fulcrum Ensemble. More recently, they can be heard in trio with the exciting new pianist Matt Piet. If the bill has one or the other musician headlining, chances are good you'll hear the other in support.

Dodecahedron is the pair's third duo recording, and it follows Second Spring (Aerophonic, 2014) and Back To The Circle (Okka, 2005). Both discs are taken from live performances. Disc one is made up of three duets between Rempis and Daisy, while disc two adds a third guest on each of its nine tracks.

Trying to report on the free improvisations of the saxophonist and drummer (more correctly called "percussionist") is much like recounting, pitch-by-pitch at bat, between Corey Kluber and Anthony Rizzo. So much is happening, yet the nuance can be appreciated by listeners on multiple levels. Daisy approaches the drums more like Paul Lytton than Elvin Jones. He has rhythmic language with patterns and cadences all his own. That said, his expression is always crisp and inviting. The deep dive the pair take on the nearly 30 minutes of "EIKOSI" ranges from a contemplative meditation to a flat-out free jazz workout. The pair have worked together for so long, nothing feels like it is stitched together.

Adding guests on disc two is akin to adding different seasonings to a stew. As a consequence, Rempis and Daisy shift from pitch and catch to the baseball game of pepper. The two tracks with trombonist Steve Swell ramble between call-and-response bursts and quiet passages. The same is true for the encounter with pianist Jim Baker. Their energy dance on "BDR I" is contrasted with "BDR II," and with Aaron Zarzutzki on "DRZ," where an open-ended electronics exploration colors the sound. Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm continues the pattern on two tracks by applying a hushed give-and-take on one and a more aggressive throwdown on the second. Rempis and Daisy are always game, ready to adapt to their environment. Maybe the highlights here are the encounters with vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz and bassoonist Katie Young. Both musicians draw out a mystical aspect in their respective collaborations.


Personnel: Dave Rempis: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone; Tim Daisy: drums; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Jim Baker: piano, electronics; Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello; Steve Swell: trombone; Katie Young: bassoon, electronics; Aaron Zarzutzki: electronics.

Title: Dodecahedron | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Aerophonic Records


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