Dave Rempis, Saxophone
Brandon Lopez, Bass
Ryan Packard, Drums + Electronics

Downbeat Magaizne

Rempis/Brandon Lopez/Ryan Packard
The Early Bird Gets
By Peter Margasak  |   Published July 2019

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 the trio of New York bassist Brandon Lopez and Chicago percussionist Ryan Packard. On “Archae Opteryx,” upper-register tenor cries braid with piercing bowed screeches over a distant bed of choppy electronic tones, courtesy of Packard. During his early days in The Vandermark 5, Rempis betrayed a Lee Konitz influence that seemed to vanish over the years, but it pops up here and there, singing bright-toned, boppish melodies on the closing track, “Gansus.” And although his baritone lines at the start of “Raho Navis” are wonderfully brawny and jagged, there are moments of Serge Chaloff’s mentholated cool that break through. Frequently, though, the trio privileges a rhythmically ferocious approach that leaves plenty of room for buoyant exchanges. On “Confucius Ornis,” the band contracts and expands around the groove, embracing sleek propulsion and muscular stomp at the drop of a hat, reminding us that countless attacks are easily within reach.

THE EARLY BIRD GETS (Aerophonic/Birdland)
By John Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald
Published June 4th, 2020

It's like a blade – not so much a scalpel as a scythe – hewing its way straight into your central nervous system. I first heard it soon after a general anaesthetic, and I swear hospitals could use Dave Rempis' alto sound to clear their recovery rooms faster. At one point on the opening Crypto Vo Lans it becomes a growling squall, and that's before we reach his tenor and baritone, which could leave cyclonic carnage in their wake. Think of the most visceral saxophonists you've heard – Albert Ayler, Mark Simmonds, Evan Parker, et al – and add Rempis to the list immediately.

This trio album with Brandon Lopez (bass) and Ryan Packard (drums, electronics) is jazz that can bubble and boil, and then, on Neo Aves, spook the socks off you. Another Rempis album released simultaneously, Apsis, is just as good.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that these guys are Chicago-based, because you hear a lineage from Art Ensemble of Chicago saxophonists Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell: this is that special.
Perhaps it's some effect of wind blasting off Lake Michigan, or perhaps it reflects the historical community spirit among the players there, as opposed to New York's more combative environment. JS