Forbes Graham | Dave Rempis | Pandelis Karayorgis | Luther Gray | Construction Party | Instruments of Change | Not Two Records

Not Two, 2012 | MW 852-2 | CD

Forbes Graham – trumpet | Dave Rempis – alto sax | Pandelis Karayorgis – piano | Luther Gray – drums

Recorded December 9, 2009 at Fraser Studio, WGBH, Boston. Recording engineer: Frank Cunningham. Mixed February/March 2010 by Michael Caglianone at 7A West Strudio, Charlestown, Boston. Musician photo & design: Lillian Helen Graham. Cover photo & design by Marek Wajda. Special thanks to Lillian Graham.

Tracklist: 1. Conic Sections [07:57] 2. Yard Dog [08:56] 3. Two-ophony [08:54] 4. Hover [06:43] 5. Fibbin’ [08:41] 6. Coretto [10:01] 7. Hazy Recall [07:02] 8. Longitude-Latitude [11:04]

This collaborative quartet

was formed in the winter of 2008, when Rempis took advantage of one of his regular trips home to visit family in Boston to start a musical relationship with some of his favorite musicians in that city. Having known Pandelis Karayorgis for almost a decade through fellow musicians Nate McBride and Ken Vandermark, the two decided to round out a quartet with the wide-ranging capabilities of Forbes Graham on trumpet, and the old-school driving swing of Luther Gray on drums. Since that time, the group has normally played once or twice a year in Boston, working on a set of compositions brought in by all its members. The band recorded in December of 2009, a recording which is came out on the Polish label Not Two Records in 2012 as “Instruments of Change.”

The performance 12/27 at the Outpost

by the Construction Party was as good a demonstration of what can happen when top-drawer jazz musicians get together from different planets. When the musicians have the right qualities and intentions, the result is music that has genuinely compelling connections. Dave Rempis, Forbes Graham, Pandelis Karayorgis, and Luther Gray reside in different parts of eastern Massachusetts and Chicago. Further, they are improvisors with quite distinctive personalities. Understandably, their compositional approaches and aesthetics are markedly different also. But none of that is significant–other than the fact that musical diversity is inevitable–when people of such musicality join forces. Each of the musicians brought compositions to the gig, and all of them worked out the peculiarities of both the charts and the improvisational roles in apparently a single rehearsal. If that’s not enough, it was a wonderful surprise to hear what each writer did with the front-line sonics of alto and trumpet. And with all that, the improvisations–exhibiting compelling diversity–were a treat for anyone with ears. — Stu Vandermark, Boston Jazz Scene Dec 2010

Dave Rempis

was born in Wellesley, Massachusetts on March 24th, 1975. He began his musical studies at the age of 8, inspired by a family friend who played clarinet in local Greek bands, and by Zoot, of the Muppets Band, to pick up saxophone. During high school he performed in his town, district, and all-state bands and wind ensembles, as well as in a jazz combo at a local music school.

In 1993, Rempis began a degree in classical saxophone at Northwestern University with Frederick Hemke. Finding this environment stifling, Rempis quickly ditched the music degree to pursue studies in anthropology and ethnomusicology. As part of these studies, he spent a year at the International Centre for African Music and Dance at the University of Ghana, Legon, studying African music and ethnomusicology. He also continued to perform with many different types of groups, ranging from highlife and reggae bands while in Ghana, to jazz, free jazz, funk, and contemporary music ensembles at home. He graduated from Northwestern in 1997.

Upon graduating, Rempis decided to focus on performing, and in March of 1998 was asked to replace saxophonist Mars Williams in the well-known Chicago jazz outfit The Vandermark Five. This opportunity catapulted him to notoriety as he began to tour regularly throughout the US and Europe playing clubs, concert halls, and festivals on both continents.

During his tenure with The Vandermark Five, Rempis also began to develop the many Chicago-based groups for which he is currently known. These include The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, The Rempis/Rosaly Duo, The Outskirts, Ballister, The Rempis/Daisy Duo, Bishop/Rempis/Kessler/Zerang, and Wheelhouse. Past working groups include Triage, and the Dave Rempis Quartet. Many of these groups have been documented on the Okkadisk, 482 Music, Not Two, Solitaire, and Utech record labels. Rempis also performs and tours with Ken Vandermark’s Territory Band and Resonance Project, and The Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten Quintet. Past collaborations have included performances with Paul Lytton, Axel Dörner, Peter Brötzmann, Hamid Drake, Steve Swell, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Kevin Drumm, Paal Nilssen-Love, Nels Cline, Tony Buck, and Joe McPhee. Rempis has been named twice in the annual Downbeat Critics’s Poll as a rising star in both the alto and baritone saxophone categories.

Aside from performing, Rempis is also active as a presenter. From 2002 – 2005, he curated a weekly Thursday-night concert series in conjunction with the Elastic Arts Foundation at their “3030″ performance space in Humboldt Park. In the spring of 2006, he moved the series to EAF’s new Logan Square space, Elastic, where it continues today. The series has featured over 500 concerts by some of the best improvisers from around the world, while maintaining a focus on up-and-coming local musicians. In late 2005, Rempis helped form the presenters’ collective Umbrella Music, working with musicians and presenters from around Chicago to provide better playing opportunities for creative and improvising musicians. As part of this group, he helps to organize the annual Umbrella Music Festival, and was the lead organizer of the Downtown Sound Gallery concert series at Gallery 37 For the Arts in 2006 and 2007.

Rempis is also one of the main organizers of the indie-rock Pitchfork Music Festival, a 60,000-person event which takes place in Chicago’s Union Park every July.

Pandelis Karayorgis

Born in Athens, Greece in 1962. Prior to moving to the U.S. in 1985, performed in small jazz groups while pursuing a degree in Economics. Earned BM and MM degrees in music from Boston’s New England Conservatory while studying with Paul Bley, Jimmy Giuffre, George Russell, Dave Holland and Joe Maneri (composition) among others. Studied and performed extensively the music of Thelonious Monk and Lennie Tristano and in 1991 compiled a collection of all of Monk’s compositions.

In the last twenty years mostly led or co-led groups whose recordings have often been voted into reviewers’ top-10 lists in magazines such as Coda, Cadence, Jazz Times and Jazziz. Performed and recorded with Mat Maneri, Joe Maneri, Ken Vandermark, Tony Malaby, Michael Formanek, John Lockwood, Randy Peterson and Guillermo Gregorio among many others. Numerous performances at festivals and clubs in Europe and the United States. Recordings appear on labels such as Hat Art, Clean Feed, Not Two, Leo Records, Nuscope, Boxholder, Okkadisk, Cadence, Accurate, Leo Lab, Ayler and HatOLOGY among others.

In the nineties worked closely with violinist Mat Maneri producing several recordings on Leo Records mostly in duo format, but also featuring Tony Malaby, Michael Formanek, Joe Maneri, John Lockwood and Randy Peterson. During the same time also co-led a group featuring much of the Tristano repertoire and originals with which, two CDs were made and a trip to Europe in 1997 as well. Also, in 1998 released first trio CD “Heart And Sack” to wide critical acclaim (among others it was featured on National Public Radio’s program Fresh Air).

In the past few years toured and recorded in duo format with Ken Vandermark (there is also a 2001 trio CD with Vandermark and McBride) and also with Guillermo Gregorio (with whom there are two previous HatArt collaborations) and Steve Swell. Performed also with Dave Rempis, Josh Abrams, Jeff Parker, Jeb Bishop, Tim Daisy, Jason Stein, Mike Reed, Josh Berman, Keefe Jackson, Nori Tanaka, Daniel Levin, Frank Rosaly, Charlie Kohlase, Luther Gray, Jef Charland, Forbes Graham, Matt Langley, Jeff Galindo, Chad Taylor, Jason Adasciewicz, Charles Waters and the TILT Brass band, Chris Lopes, Okay Temiz, Hans Koch, Michael Griener, Jan Roder, Floros Floridis , Jorrit Dijkstra, Jacob William, Laurence Cook, Eric Hofbauer, James Falzone, Steve Swell.

A quintet album, System of 5, featuring all original compositions and arrangements, was released last year by hatology. This spring, a quartet album, “Instruments Of Change,” featuring Dave Rempis, Forbes Graham and Luther Gray (Construction Party) was released on not two records. More recordings on the way include a trio with Guillermo Gregorio and Steve Swell, a trio with Jef Charland and Luther Gray, and finally a CD by the Whammies, a new group dedicated to the music of Steve Lacy featuring Han Bennink, Jorrit Dijkstra, Jeb Bishop, Nate McBride and guest, Mary Oliver.

Forbes Graham

is a Boston-based composer, trumpet player, and electronic musician who has appeared on over 30 recordings, including studio appearances on such labels as Metal Blade, Tzadik, and Troubleman. Forbes has performed and recorded with artists such as Tatsuya Nakatani, Erase Errata, Rakalam Bob Moses, Steve Lantner, Daughters, Raqib Hassan, Jim Hobbs, The One Am Radio, and Luther Gray.

Luther Gray

was born March 10, 1972 in New Orleans, LA. His family moved to Washington, D.C. where, as a teenager, he started playing drums in punk rock bands. Though largely self-taught, his musical training involved drum lessons from Kim Martin, Larry Bright, Steve Bagby, and Mickey Newman. In 1995 he graduated the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Music, after which he taught privately and performed in the Washington , D.C. area with, among others, Butch Warren, Cecil Payne, Webster Young, Tsunami, Jenny Toomey, and Buck Hill. Upon moving to Boston in 2000 he resumed teaching private drum lessons and has played with Joe Morris, Anthony Braxton, Joe McPhee, Cameron Brown, Allan Chase, Joseph Daley, Sabir Mateen, Roy Campbell, Ida, Geoff Farina, Andrew White, Rob Brown, Bill Lowe, Taylor Ho Bynum, Raqib Hassan, Bill Pierce, Steve Swell, Joe Beck, Fred Anderson, Ken Vandermark and many others. Luther has performed in festivals and concerts across the country and abroad. He has recorded for the Simple Machines, Hat Hut, ESP, AUM Fidelity, Riti Rec, Skycap, Clean Feed, Xeng, Atavistic, Not Two, and Jardis labels, among others. In addition to his performing schedule Luther teaches art and music at an after-school program for elementary school children.

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