Chicagoan heroes sax player Dave Rempis and drummer-percussionist Tim Daisy have been working together over the last 25 years and have been the cornerstone of countless improvising bands: Triage, Vandermark Five, Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, Earscratcher, as well as their longstanding duo. Over the last decade, they’ve purposely found ways to shake their duo’s interaction up, reconstructing and redefining the possibilities to keep the music moving forward. mainly by inviting guest musicians to their duo, including Jason Adasiewicz, Jim Baker, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Steve Swell, Russ Johnson, Michael Zerang and Jeb Bishop.
Chicago native Mark Feldman returned to the windy city during the Covid-19 pandemic, after decades in New York, and Rempis and Daisy wanted immediately to incorporate his singular voice in their free improvising dynamics. Both Rempis and Daisy appreciated Feldman’s unparalleled technique and his chameleon ability to absorb and dissect any musical style he delves into. And, indeed, in several performances during 2022, Feldman demonstrated how he laser-beamed in on precisely what makes their language tick, and found ways to splinter it apart from the inside out.
Sirocco was recorded live at Elastic Arts in Chicago. Feldman knows how to challenge both Rempis and Daisy in unpredictable and inventive ways with an ongoing series of sonic questions and proposals, forcing them to reconstruct their decades of interaction into a new immediate sound. He does so by playing slow-wavering long tones against the Rempis’ sax lines, playing sharp rhythmic attacks back at Daisy, or bouncing impossibly quick counterpoints back at Rempis and Daisy across five octaves.
The two, extended improvisations are titled after Meditartenan and Adriatic seas winds, «Ostro» and «Bora», and these titles capture beautifully the immediate, fast-changing and engaging dynamics of this unsettling and most gratifying meeting. Feldman introduces a fragile, chamber intimacy and lyricism to the powerful interplay of Rempis and Daisy, tempts Rempis and Daisy to clever games and his imaginative violin solos take the trio into stratospheric voyages. Rempis and Daisy call Sirocco «a primer on artistic reinvention» and they are absolutely right.
Mark Feldman (vio), Dave Rempis (as, ts, bs), Tim Daisy (dr, perc)