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>Rempis / Karayorgis / Heinemann / Harris



Rempis / Karayorgis / Heinemann / Harris
Driff Records 2401, 2024
(This CD is a co-production with Aerophonic Records, AR 042)

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


1. Stone Fruit 43:16
2. Burning Bush 10:01

Total time 53:17




Greek pianist Pandelis Karayorgis moved to Boston in 1985, and he's been there ever since.

Not long after, Dave Rempis left the area to begin the journey that has established him as one of Chicago's foremost saxophonists, band-leaders and concert organizers. They've sustained a musical association for a quarter century, with each man visiting the other's town to play in a series of bands and make a handful of records.

When Karayorgis resumed visiting Chicago after a COVID-induced layoff of several years, Rempis arranged for the pianist to join him in playing with improvisers of a younger generation: bassist Jakob Heinemann and drummer Bill Harris. Truss documents the quartet's first encounter, and it's a fascinating study in the development of understanding and rapport.

The younger musicians share with Rempis an attraction to timbral explorations and a readiness to treat interrupted rhythms as opportunities. The pianist initially parallels the Chicagoans' interactions with a dense layer of sound, but as the action progresses, his play-ing opens up and complements them. This adjustment reveals the essence of Karayorgis and Rempis partnership. Even in a completely improvised setting, they interact like co-com-posers, each offering the other ideas for further elaboration. Heinemann takes a complementary stance, putting power behind Rempis' wind-ing forays and space into Karayorgis' harmonies. Harris keeps the door open to change by either leaving out parts of a rhythm or sustain-ing two at once.

It's fascinating to hear these musicians cohere into a unit; here's hoping that they keep the process going.

Bill Meyer, Downbeat, June 2024

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, salt peanuts, March 29, 2024









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