I recall an interview with a lionized baby boomer saxophonist, who told the story of listening to side one, and only side one, of John Coltrane
's A Love Supreme
(Impulse!, 1965). He was reluctant to turn the LP over (this was in the pre-digital era), thinking side two could never match the majesty of "Acknowledgement" and "Resolution." One could have a similar experience with track one of saxophonist Dave Rempis
. His six-minute take on Billy Strayhorn
's "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing" is presented as a sort of hallucinatory purr, or dream. Rempis shepherds his baritone saxophone with an intimacy of breath that turns the listening experience into a bit of voyeurism.
After countless recordings, first with Ken Vandermark
's various projects, then in his role as a leader of the celebrated ensembles Ballister, The Engines, Rempis Percussion Quartet, Rempis has released this, his first ever solo recording. Rempis gives us access to his innermost thoughts here. Of course, any solo saxophone recording displays varying techniques. We hear his slap tongue, circular breathing, and upper register yowl. The gift here revolves around his pacing. "Loose Snus" is packed with investigative exclamations, an exercise in tenacity. The pulse and pop of "If You Get Lost In Santa Paula" is a roiling bit of locomotion, as is "Horse Count," which morphs into some chanting incantations.
Getting beyond the sublime Strayhorn opener, the recording opens up to some brilliant possibilities. "Linger Longer" is a Philip Glass-like workout of circular breathing. The bookend cover of Eric Dolphy
's "Serene" allows Rempis to unpack his suitcase, one that travels from Coleman Hawkins
to Ornette Coleman
. The notes to this recording indicate these tracks were culled from 31 concerts recorded in 27 cities. Let's hope there is a second volume forthcoming.
Track Listing: A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing; Loose Snus; If You Get Lost In Santa Paula;
Linger Longer; Horse Court; Serene.
Personnel: Dave Rempis: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone.
| Year Released: 2017
| Record Label: Aerophonic Records