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Get braced for Rip Tear Crunch
Toronto Star
Geoff Chapman
The title of the new CD by Chicago-based group Rempis Percussion Quartet is Rip Tear Crunch, which is pretty scary unless you've been reared solely on a diet of free jazz rage.

However, this album on 482 Records illuminates a musical path that makes the improv accessible with its combination of restless, dense grooves from two drummers and virtuoso free bop playing on alto, tenor and baritone sax by leader Dave Rempis, who's perhaps better known as the other horn in the Ken Vandermark Five.

Rempis and colleagues, all heavyweights on the Windy City's noted improvised music scene — bassist Anton Hatwich plus percussionists Tim Daisy (another Vandermark associate) and Frank Rosaly, both on trap sets and different in approach — will play at Arraymusic Studio tomorrow at 9 as part of a 16-venue tour of Canada and the U.S. that winds up in Chicago on April 16.

The new album is the first studio recording by this free improv ensemble, which was originally formed for a house party. It draws inspiration from West African and Latin American rhythms, funk and free jazz.

Its first two tracks explore compositional structures in a relatively serene manner but midway through the 26-minute title tune, after ruminations on baritone and alto, unrestrained furies break out and raucous rules in a maelstrom of joyous, if nonetheless controlled freedom.

It takes time for the limb-stiffening tension to be resolved, the music propelled forward into a polyrhythmic whirlwind over the solid centre of the Hatwich bass and keening sax layered over the storms.

Yet Rempis manages melody, too, often lyrical but always on the verge of an explosion. The quiet evolution of "Dirty Work Can be Clean Fun" soon barrels into feverish tenor wails during the 12-minute "The Rub."

Opening is Toronto's Remnants Trio, comprising guitarist Ken Aldcroft, alto saxist Evan Shaw and drummer Joe Sorbara.

Back to Rip Tear Crunch album page.
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