Dave Rempis - saxophones
Brandon Lopez - bass
Ryan Packard - percussion/electronics
Photo by Erika Raberg
This working trio finds journeyman Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis alongside two of the brightest talents in a younger generation of improvising musicians. Bassist Brandon Lopez is a musician whose virtuosity knows no bounds, currently one of the most in-demand bassists on the New York jazz and improvised music scene. Percussionist Ryan Packard counters that depth with his own breadth of interests, working in contemporary classical ensembles, indie rock bands, and jazz groups alike around Chicago, not to mention his doubling abilities on electronics. These two together provide a formidable rhythm section that can veer from hard-driving grooves to luscious soundscapes with total ease.
Active since the summer of 2017, the trio made its first studio recording in March of 2018, released in early 2019 on Rempis’ Aerophonic Records imprint. This debut outing is titled The Early Bird Gets, and is perhaps the “jazziest” project any of them are involved with; a result that even the band members found surprising. But after honing their sound through live gigs in 2017 and early 2018, it became apparent that their free-improvised conversation kept returning to a similar destination: a three-way exploration of rhythm and tempo that left them working solidly within the jazz tradition. Not the one fixed into predictable stylistic corners, but the one defined by a spirit of boundless curiosity and exploration. A tradition they stretched back and forth like so much taffy.
The way these three unite into a groove is truly remarkable. Not as something to be closely adhered to, but as something to turn upside down, inside out, and ass backwards, as they expose every last facet of it. At times this means slowing it down, speeding it up, or splitting those two approaches up amongst the band simultaneously. At other times it means jumping to another dimension on the turn of a dime. And while that methodology may feel counterintuitive to the end result, it’s not. This band has a classic approach that has an inherent life and energy to it that dates back to the beginnings of jazz as an art form. It truly swings.
April 23rd, 2019 @ 244 Studios in New York City :
April 19th, 2019 at If Art Gallery in Columbia, SC :
April 11th, 2019 at Elastic Arts in Chicago :
With all due respect, let's call this trio The Pyromaniacs, inasmuch as the three musicians have an obsessive desire to set fire to this music. -Mark Corroto, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
By expanding his pool of collaborative constellations, Chicago reedist Dave Rempis has found a variety of contexts in which to explore his fiery improvisational aesthetic. And there’s no shortage of heat produced on The Early Bird Gets, his first recording with New York bassist Brandon Lopez and Chicago percussionist Ryan Packard. The trio privileges a rhythmically ferocious approach that leaves plenty of room for buoyant exchanges….the band contracts and expands around the groove, embracing sleek propulsion and muscular stomp at the drop of a hat. Four stars! -Peter Margasak, DOWNBEAT
It’s a treat to hear freely improvised playing of the highest caliber that’s not afraid to swing! -Ben Remsen, DUSTED MAGAZINE
This trio excels in exploring different aspects of rhythm and tempo, moving fast and organically from tight and hard-driving grooves to independent, luscious soundscapes. This trio revisits and updates the legacy of seminal sax trios, beginning with the acrobatic solos of Sonny Rollins and concluding with the nervous and brutal assaults of Peter Brötzmann…all three musicians happen to be a new breed of firebirds, ready to set a volatile and fiery groove at any given time, as long as this fire will keep the rhythm swinging.
-Eyal Hareuveni, SALT PEANUTS