The Rempis Percussion Quartet – Chicagoan sax hero and bandleader Dave Rempis with fellow Chicagoan drummer Tim Daisy, ex-Chicagoan and now Amsterdam-based drummer Frank Rosaly and honorary Chicagoan, Norwegian double bass player Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – celebrates this year 15 years of touring, its tenth album, the double album Harvesters, and most of all, its first tour in France after four years of forced separation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Rempis also celebrates the tenth anniversary of his label Aerophonic label.
The Rempis Percussion Quartet had a tightly packed week-long schedule. The Quartet performed in Tours, Poitiers, Brest, Nantes, and Lyon, while also doing a day of workshops and recording. Harvesters was recorded on two dates at Le Petit Faucheux (little daddy long legs in French. The title of this album is another English word for this close relative of the spider.) in Tours in March 2023, where the Quartet simply set the room on fire and was energized by its first meeting in four years.
Disc One of Harvesters documents the second set of the first concert. The Quartet opens with the 29-minute «Everything Happens To You», tapping immediately into its spiritual rhythmic energy as an ensemble. This piece allows Rempis to stretch and soar with his free-associative melodic lines while Håker Flaten, Daisy and Rosaly build layers on layers of nuanced rhythmic pulses. Legendary French flugelhorn player Jean-Luc Cappozzo joins the Quartet on the second piece, the 19-minute «The Exuberant Aubergine» and he instantly finds a common language with Rempis and both intensifying the spiritual vein and sketching an introspective and vulnerable blues reminiscent of some of Bill Dixon’s later work.
Disc Two opens with the 27-minute of «Spooky Action», recorded live at a morning percussion workshop for kids ranging in age from 8-18 years old, all of whom were recent immigrants from Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Niger, and Senegal. Rempis mentions that the Quartet learned more from the students than vice versa, but it is clear that all enjoyed this engaging experience of diving slowly and deeply into the addictive and hypnotic rhythmic vibe. The last two pieces, the mournful and contemplative «Little Fascists» and the gentle, bluesy «Fat Lip», with Håker Flaten, as usual, providing the perfect counterpoint and drive to Rempis’ sax flights, were recorded without an audience at the same stage of the concert and the workshop. But both pieces continued to deepen the inspiring, spiritual and slow-burning energy of The Rempis Percussion Quartet, now already accustomed to the acoustics of the room. This Quartet provides many reasons to celebrate its music.
Dave Rempis (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (double bass), Tim Daisy (drums), Frank Rosaly (drums), Jean-Luc Cappozzo (trumpet, flugelhorn)