Joe McPhee, Dave Rempis, Tomeka Reid, Brandon Lopez, Paal Nilssen-Love - Of things beyond thule Vol. 1 - 180g Vinyl LP
This very special limited-edition LP celebrates a one-of-a-kind grouping of like-minded improvisers, meeting for the first time at a familiar Chicago haunt for a warm and intimate night of music in the early winter of 2018. This extraordinary lineup came together almost by chance. Nilssen-Love was in Chicago after finishing a US tour, and he and Rempis, frequent collaborators for the last 15 years, planned a duo concert for the Sunday night Transmission Series at the Hungry Brain. When Rempis spoke with long-time friend and collaborator Tomeka Reid and found out she’d also be in town, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up, and the duo became a trio. Brainstorming a bit further, Rempis and McPhee had been talking for years about doing a project together. McPhee’s longstanding relationship with Nilssen-Love in their duo pairing and as a guest with The Thing made the idea even more logical, and the trio became a quartet. Finally, Rempis knew from several years of regular work with New York bassist Brandon Lopez that he would be the perfect voice to round out this remarkable quintet.
As is often the case, McPhee’s love for simple melodies, and a staggeringly gorgeous sound on every instrument he touches, brought this first outing by the quintet into quick focus. While Lopez and Nilssen-Love both have the endless well of energy and technique needed to power a band of any type, listen to them here holding back, riding the wave of tension created by restraint, and only occasionally allowing the flood to burst through. Rempis follows a similar route, wrapping his lines around McPhee’s stark melodies to create lush harmonies full of cinematic and pastoral beauty. And while it’s more than easy to focus on Reid’s prodigious abilities as a soloist, pay attention to how she drives the ensemble music forward everywhere on this record, with subtle actions that spin her bandmates’ choices into gold.
And of course, McPhee. Joe is someone who plays only when he feels compelled to do so. He’ll sometimes stand on stage for the lion’s share of a set and not play a note. But when he does, watch out. He’ll bowl you over by surrounding you in that warm dark tone. A velvet curtain wrapping itself around you, as with his trumpet entrance on Side A, or with his hushed tenor solo on Side B. This band knows it’s an approach you can’t argue with. It’s too appealing to let yourself be engulfed by that warm humanity, and move forward, together, as a whole.
This LP, limited to a single pressing of 350 copies, features some of the most compelling material from that night. It’s culled from the second set of the concert, played to a packed house that held its breath from the first note till the last. Released on high quality 180-gm black vinyl, the psychedelic color gradient design by Jonathan Crawford comes printed on a gatefold jacket embossed with a spot varnish finish against a matte background, with a printed inner sleeve for the disc.
This beautiful edition is the definition of a collector’s item, as this material will not be made available anywhere else. No digital downloads (except with the LP itself), no cd’s, no cassettes, no re-pressings. A one-of-a-kind object made to celebrate a one-of-a-kind gathering. This will sell out, so get it while you can!
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