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Dave Rempis

Saxophonist, improviser, and composer Dave Rempis has been an integral part of the thriving Chicago jazz and improvised music scene since 1997. With a background in ethnomusicology and African studies at Northwestern University, including a year spent at the University of Ghana, Rempis burst onto the creative music scene at the age of 22 when he was asked to join the now-legendary Chicago jazz outfit The Vandermark Five. This opportunity catapulted him to notoriety as he began to tour regularly throughout the US and Europe, an active schedule that he still maintains to the present day. At the same time, Rempis began to develop the many Chicago-based groups for which he’s currently known, including The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, Ballister, Rempis/Abrams/Ra, Wheelhouse, Triage, The Rempis/Rosaly Duo, and The Rempis/Daisy Duo. Other collaborations have included work with Paul Lytton, Fred Anderson, Peter Brötzmann, Hamid Drake, Tomeka Reid, Steve Swell, Elisabeth Harnik, John Tchicai, Roscoe Mitchell, Nate Wooley, Jaimie Branch, Kevin Drumm, Paal Nilssen-Love, Nels Cline, and Joe McPhee. In 2013, he started his own record label, Aerophonic Records, to document this ongoing work. Rempis has been named regularly since 2006 in the annual Downbeat Critics’s Poll as a “rising star” on both alto and baritone saxophone, a category that he won in 2017. He’s received funding from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jazz Road Touring sponsored by the Doris Duke and Andrew Mellon Foundations, the City of Chicago Individual Artist Program, and was the recipient of a Ragdale Fellowship from the Herb Alpert Foundation in 2017.

Rempis’ musical expression draws on a number of touchstones. While heavily improvisational in nature, his Greek ethnicity, studies in jazz and ethnomusicology, an appreciation for the philosophical underpinnings of contemporary composition, and a love for unforgivingly strident yelps, screeches, and squeals that can encompass the ever-evolving state of human depravity all inform his work.

Aside from his work as a musician and composer, Rempis has worked tirelessly as a presenter. Since 2002, he’s curated and produced a weekly series of improvised music at Chicago’s Elastic Arts Foundation, where he’s also served as Board President since 2015. He was a founding member of the presenters’ collective Umbrella Music, and one of the lead producers and curators of its annual festival of improvised music from 2006-2014. He was business manager of the world renowned Pitchfork Music Festival from 2005-2016, and now works as Operations Manager with the neighborhood-based Hyde Park Jazz Festival in Chicago.

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6
Album Review

Ballister: Smash and Grab

Read "Smash and Grab" reviewed by Mark Corroto


A listener might have a premonition when they drop the needle on the hot pink vinyl version or push the play button on the CD or digital download of Smash And Grab by the trio Ballister. They understand, or have knowledge by way of the trio's ten previous releases, that a storm awaits them. The trio of saxophonist Dave Rempis, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love conjure a tempest of sound that simply refuses to become background music.

5
Album Review

Rempis Percussion Quartet: Harvesters

Read "Harvesters" reviewed by Mark Corroto


A couple quotes from the 1980s' film The Blues Brothers starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd seem appropriate for Harvesters, the double album by The Rempis Percussion Quartet. Elwood Blues: “It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses." Jake Blues: “Hit It...we're on a mission from God... we're getting the band back together." In all actuality, the Chicago residents, saxophonist Dave Rempis and ...

4
Album Review

Rempis / Abrams / Ra + Jim Baker: Scylla

Read "Scylla" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Avreeayl Ra sets the tone for this entire live set as his voice and mbira open Scylla, “this is for all the survivors." According to Greek mythology Scylla was a beautiful woman who turned into a monster with four eyes and six long snaky necks with heads, each containing three rows of shark's teeth and 12 tentacle legs plus six dog's heads wrapped her waist. Recorded deep into the Covid-19 pandemic, in July 2021, at Chicago's Elastic Arts, one would ...

7
Album Review

Dave Rempis: Chrysopoeia

Read "Chrysopoeia" reviewed by John Sharpe


Recorded at Krakow's legendary Alchemia just two days before Znachki Stilyag (Aerophonic Records, 2020), on the same European tour, the power trio Ballister comprising saxophonist Dave Rempis, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, demonstrates an astonishing level of consistency in terms of both energy and excellence. Chrysopoeia constitutes the triumvirate's tenth release over some dozen years of existence, one which confirms that time and familiarity yield multiple benefits. While two pieces well in excess of the 20-minute ...

1
Radio & Podcasts

The Gathering—Roots & Branches of Los Angeles Jazz, Survival Unit II & Hot Heroes

Read "The Gathering—Roots & Branches of Los Angeles Jazz, Survival Unit II & Hot Heroes" reviewed by Maurice Hogue


With only one opportunity left to program some music to recognize Black History Month, I decided to dedicate the last hour music by some of the great Black musicians making their own history (Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, Wadada Leo Smith and Graham Haynes & Oliver Lake of OGJB) and The Gathering: Roots And Branches of Los Angeles Jazz, an organization carrying on the work and ideas of Horace Tapscott and creating an outlet in L.A. for Black music and community. ...

8
Album Review

Dave Rempis / Elizabeth Harnik / Michael Zerang: Astragaloi

Read "Astragaloi" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Sometimes listening to free improvisational music is, truth be told, an act of social anthropology. Who is making music? How is the combination of individual instruments configured? Where are the musicians from? Maybe more significant, how has this musical society developed? Astragaloi from the trio of Dave Rempis, Elizabeth Harnik, and Michael Zerang could be a perfect study for scholars. It is Chicago (Rempis and Zerang) meets Graz, Austria (Harnik), but maybe more important, it is the evolution of the ...

6
Album Review

Dave Rempis' Percussion Quartet: Sud Des Alpes

Read "Sud Des Alpes" reviewed by John Sharpe


Recorded live in Geneva during the group's 15th Anniversary tour, Sud Des Alpes is the tenth outing from Chicago-based saxophonist Dave Rempis' Percussion Quartet. The band is one of his longest established outlets, boasting a consistent membership, with the drum stools occupied by Tim Daisy and Frank Rosaly since the first album in 2005, and just one bassist prior to current incumbent Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. More to the point, they continue to find new avenues to explore within their preferred ...

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Video / DVD

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Improvising trio Kuzu set for St. Louis debut

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Improvising trio Kuzu set for St. Louis debut

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring the musicians in Kuzu, an improvising trio who will be coming to St. Louis to perform in a concert presented by New Music Circle on Wednesday, March 11 at Joe's Cafe. Saxophonist Dave Rempis, guitarist Tashi Dorji and drummer Tyler Damon all are veterans of the improvised music scene, with Rempis and Damon based in Chicago and Dorji living in Asheville, NC. They formed Kuzu in the fall of 2017, ...

209

Recording

The Rempis Percussion Quartet's Hunter-Gatherers Available Now on 482 Music

The Rempis Percussion Quartet's Hunter-Gatherers Available Now on 482 Music

Source: Improvised Communications

Hunter-Gatherers (482-1056), the new two-disc live set from Chicago's The Rempis Percussion Quartet, featuring saxophonist Dave Rempis, bassist Anton Hatwich and drummers Frank Rosaly and Tim Daisy, is now available on 482 Music. This is the band's third release and the 13th entry in label's ongoing Document Chicago series. Named after the Columbia, South Carolina venue where it was recorded in April 2006, Hunter-Gatherers hits the streets amidst the band's early October tour of the Southeast and Midwest.

Critics called ...

149

Interview

Saxophonist Dave Rempis Interviewed at AAJ

Saxophonist Dave Rempis Interviewed at AAJ

Source: All About Jazz


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Recording

Available Today: The Dave Rempis Quartet's Out of Season (482 Music)

Available Today: The Dave Rempis Quartet's Out of Season (482 Music)

Source: All About Jazz

Dave Rempis Quartet Out of Season (Document Chicago Series #5) 482 Music 482-1021 Street Date: April 20th, 2004 http://www.482music.com/albums/482-1021.html

Dave Rempis :: alto and tenor saxophones Jim Baker :: piano, analog synthesizer, and violin Jason Roebke :: bass Tim Daisy :: drums

After nearly four years of developing their voice as an improvising collective, Rempis (Triage, Vandermark Five, Thread Quintet, Territory Band) ...

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Smash and Grab

Aerophonic Records
2025

buy

Harvesters

Aerophonic Records
2024

buy

Gnash

Aerophonic Records
2024

buy

Astragaloi

Aerophonic Records
2022

buy

Scylla

Aerophonic Records
2022

buy

Sud Des Alpes

Aerophonic Records
2021

buy

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