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Dave Rempis, Avreeayl Ra

Bennu (LP)

Label: Aerophonic Records

Format: LP

Genre: Jazz

In stock


Rempis and Ra have worked together for about fifteen years.  Most regularly since 2012 in their trio with Joshua Abrams, which expanded into a quartet in 2016 with the addition of pianist Jim Baker.  That band is a real working unit, having performed dozens of gigs in Chicago and abroad, and releasing three critically-acclaimed records, also on Aerophonic: Aphelion (2014), Perihelion (2016), and Apsis (2019).  The diligent work these two improvisers have put in together in that context has slowly caramelized their rapport like a carbonnade.  And on Bennu, we get the unique opportunity to hear the pair’s very first duo outing, a long overdue head-to-head matchup.

When this album was recorded, both Rempis and Ra had been locked down for the entire winter, neither one having played with another musician for several months.  For Ra, at 74, and Rempis, at 46, this was the longest break either of them had from performing with others since they first started playing music decades ago.  Done in one take for an online stream at Constellation in Chicago, this duo session was a rebirth in the midst of those darkest days.  And as Ra said on camera during the performance, “this challenge that we’re having is just gonna make the music that much stronger – it really gives a profound, poignant story to tell now, if you didn’t have one before.”  On Bennu, we find them digging deep into the existential depths of that tumult and loneliness, while also celebrating the joy of reemergence, and union.

The Bennu Bird was an ancient Egyptian deity/symbol that was likely the predecessor to the Phoenix of ancient Greece.  It was depicted in the New Kingdom era as an almost comically tall bluish-gray bird – possibly based on the giant 6-ft heron that was found to have lived on the coast of the Red Sea in that time.  Amongst other things, the Bennu Bird was said to have created itself out of the darkness at the dawn of time.  Subsequently, the sound of its call as it landed on a rock while flying over the primeval waters of chaos known as Nun initiated the creation of the world itself.  Out of nothing, something.

Cat. number: AR033
Year: 2022
Recorded February 17th, 2021 at Constellation in Chicago Special thanks to Constellation, Mike Reed, and The Walder Foundation Rippled-sky colored vinyl LP | limited edition of 500 includes bandcamp download/stream card

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