Dave Rempis and Frank Rosaly: Cyrillic

Working as a duo since 2004, Chicago-based multi-reedist Dave Rempis and drummer Frank Rosaly speak their improvisational language with an unquestionably vital fluency. Their boundless innovations prevail in their duo album entitled Cyrillic. Rempis and Rosaly have an inherently intense rhythmic sense. With a highly integrated sound despite the difference in timbre, the two musicians latch onto musical ideas and go forward as if there were no tomorrow.

Rempis plays alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. The pleasing quality of his blowing translates into the arresting conciseness with which he caresses every tone, no matter whether it is pure, slurred, split or not. Strikingly, he seems to boast a Chicago sound, perhaps associated with rapid arpeggios, tremolo progressions and a full gamut of figures and range. In fact, he surpasses his colleague, Ken Vandermark, by working around the mere cerebral mechanics of his horns. Rempis’ tenor blue notes, Colemanesque alto screams, or carefully drawn baritone lines tell stories that are from the heart.

Rempis and Rosaly are inseparable. The organic blending of the reeds and drums enriches whatever each player is doing, even where the most dilated time signature is in effect. “Still Will” opens the door to the expertise of both musicians; breath, stamina and control maintain an impenetrable tension. Throughout Cyrillic, Rosaly focuses rigorously on following the fluidity of the horn’s song, while taking every chance to open up his percussive bag. Rosaly engages rhythmic spirit, triggered by even the most abstract of horn lines. Rapid, inescapably light stick or mallet work on damped cymbals, the edge of a drum or the skin of the tom or snare easily combines with accurate bass drum rumbles. The two also share a propensity for creating endless atmosphere, as travelers, inventing paths where none might have been previously visible.