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Rempis - Johnston - Ochs: Spectral

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "The Drop"

For this nascent record label's sixth offering, Chicago-based saxophonist Dave Rempis unites with West Coast modernists, saxophonist Larry Ochs (The Rova Saxophone Quartet) and trumpeter Darren Johnston who has been all over the jazz map these days. Here, the trio hunkers down and prepares for battle via cyclonic three-way flurries, dappled with polytonal hues and expansive horizons, occasionally throttled with subversive dialogues and a few tetchy conversations. Moreover, the press notes intimate the group's initial comfort zone, but their ensuing developments occurred in unexpected ways, which is a proposition that spawned innate compositional awareness, abstractly framed by the improvisational quotient.

The final and lengthiest piece "The Drop," is exercised with bizarre contrasts via Johnston's popping notes and the saxophonists' flickering choruses, spanning creaky and buzzing lines amid breaks in the action. They also generate a little upper-register mayhem, underscored with swirling cadenzas and some role playing type mechanisms. Then add the highly charged interplay, rounded out with dips, spikes and a microtonal bridge, complemented with fractured overtones and bluesy statements. It's one of those jubilant improvisational fests where the listener can sit back and enjoy the musicians' collaborative sparks of ingenuity. Hence, a mission most assuredly accomplished, and then some...

Track Listing:

Personnel: Dave Rempis: alto saxophone; Darren Johnston: trumpet; Larry Ochs: tenor saxophone and sopranino saxophone.

Title: Spectral | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Aerophonic Records

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