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Truss documents a new American quartet in its first performances – Chicagoan sax hero Dave Rempis, who plays on the alto, tenor and baritone saxes, and the younger rhythm section of double bass player Jakob Heinemann and drummer Bill Harris, plus Bostonian pianist and Rempis’ long-time collaborator, pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, in one of his first visits back to Chicago since the pandemic. The quartet was recorded at Elastic Arts in Chicago in June 2023.

Rempis claims that the way this new quartet made Truss speaks volumes about the high quality of the music played together on its first meeting. Rempis and Karayorgis share a lot of history as Rempis is a native Bostonian, Karayorgis was born in Greece and Rempis’ father is Greek, and both played in the longstanding Boston-based quartet Construction Party and in the Karayorgis Quintet. Rempis describes Heinemann and Harris as the best improvisers and instrumentalists of their generation on the Chicago scene.

The interplay of this quartet feels organic from the first downbeat of the first, 43-minute «Stone Fruit», stressing great sensitivity to space, tempo and group dynamics as if the quartet has been playing together for years. The quartet patiently sketches a nuanced and complex texture that develops in its own course, adding more and more layers of dramatic and energetic interplay. This piece allows Rempis and Karayorgis to offer contrasting and unpredictable readings of it, always challenging each other, and at the same time, Heinemann and Harris keep both of them on their toes with their powerful, free pulses. The second, 10-minute «Burning Bush» explores the lyrical sides of this promising quartet, introduced beautifully by Rempis and Heinemann, before Karayorgis and Harris joined. This auspicious debut performance and album begs for many more by this fine quartet.

Eyal Hareuveni

Dave Rempis (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone), Pandelis Karayorgis (piano), Jakob Heinemann (double bass), Bill Harris (drums)