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Rempis/Abrams/Ra + Baker: Perihelion

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Dave Rempis made his mark as the second saxophonist in the Vandermark 5, and his former employer’s influence is abundant throughout Perihelion, a two-disc set released on Rempis’ label, Aerophonic. The music undulates like waves on the high seas, lulls giving way to stormy interludes, free improv giving way to beats and melodies. Freedom rules, but Rempis’ fierce, atonal blowing is often underpinned by deliberate patterns and grooves formed by bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Avreeayl Ra.

Disc one is a single 43-minute performance, “Enceladus.” It begins with a free arco bass solo that leads to a single long note blown by Rempis, on alto, while Ra taps with mallets. As the three find their footing, gentleness gradually turns to ferocity, and after a few minutes Rempis is shrieking, Ra is bashing and Abrams is thumping with abandon. Suddenly the hurricane ends, and Abrams and Ra engage in a brief meditation. Later, the trio emerges with a groove that recalls the heyday of the V5. By the time the piece concludes, Ra has switched to wood flute, quietly fluttering behind Rempis’ circular, repeating tenor saxophone phrase.

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