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Dave Rempis, Jim Baker, Joshua Abrams, Avreeayl Ra


Label: Aerophonic Records

Format: CD

Genre: Jazz

In stock


 This fourth record by the long-standing improvising ensemble Rempis/Abrams/Ra, and the third featuring now-regular band member Jim Baker, was recorded in a watershed moment for these musicians during a pandemic that had gutted lives across the planet. After 15 months of being closed to the public, the band's home base Elastic Arts had re-opened for live events. And Rempis decided to relaunch his weekly Thursday-night concert series, a hub of the Chicago scene since 2002, with a performance by this working quartet.

So while the music presented on Scylla documents the first sounds this longstanding group had made together in all that time, it also documents a moment with broader significance.   An entire community of musicians, fans, and friends whose deep roots intertwine through decades of the rich history of jazz and improvised music in Chicago came together again to bear witness.  And through that union, they began as a community to process the sense of loss, and the isolation that had devastated so many lives.  That searing mix of bright sunlight and profound darkness dominated the room as the band hit their first downbeat that night.  And these masterful improvisers delved deep into that ineffable energy through pure sound in a way that words never could.

The weight of that evening comes to the fore on the very first track – Survivors.  The title is taken from Ra's spoken dedication during this short solo mbira piece, "This is for all the survivors."  (You can faintly hear an audience member somberly respond "Amen.")  This piece was in fact a coda to the concert, spontaneously tacked on by Ra after the final piece seemed to have concluded.  For the recording, its weight and poignancy made it the perfect opener to set the tone for two longer improvisations that probe every corner of the emotional depths that Ra's dedication brings to the fore.

Although the exuberance and hope of that night in July 2021 was soon to be diminished by the realization that the pandemic was not yet over, this concert inspired those who heard it to continue with their patience and resilience in the face of these brutal times.  For the musicians, and for the locally-based community who supports their work, this was a night that will live on for ages.




Cat. number: AR035
Year: 2022
Recorded July 8th, at Elastic Arts in Chicago Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Bill Harris Produced by Dave Rempis All Compositions by Rempis/ Baker / Abrams / Ra Cover design and artwork by Lasse Marhaug

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