One of the super-groups of free improvisation, colliding elements of jazz, rock, ea-improv and beyond, the Ballister trio of Chicago stalwarts Dave Rempis (sax) and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) are captured live at the Oorstof concert series in De Studio, Antwerp, presenting the concert in a limited, combined vinyl LP and DVD release.
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Limited edition of 300 copies.
Label: Dropa Disc
Catalog ID: 005
Squidco Product Code: 23858
Format: LP +DVD
Packaging: LP + DVD
Recorded and filmed at the Oorstof concert series, De Studio, Antwerp March 22nd, 2015, by Michael Huon.
Dave Rempis-tenor saxophone, alto saxophone
Fred Lonberg Holm-cello
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DVD-1 Part One
DVD-2 Part Two
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
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sample the album:
"When Ballister - the fearsome trio of Dave Rempis (saxophones), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) - performed in Antwerp in March of 2015, they played the kind of music you know some musicians are capable of, but rarely get to experience. It was a magnificent concert that grabbed you by the collar and took you for an adrenaline-fueled ride. There were some quieter moments when you could enjoy the view and take a breath, but the impression that lingered on was one of fearless exploration, tremendous sway and primal joy. Free music in its superlative form: adventurous, cohesive and forceful as a hand grenade."-Dropa Disc
"Extended text by Guy Peters (Enola Magazine, Gonzo Circus, Cadence ... ):
What is it exactly that distinguishes a superlative performance from a strong one? Often it will involve the exploration of new territory, an execution that finally meets the expectations, or an audience that goes wild. But usually it is also because all the individual pieces of the puzzle fall into place: there is a good vibe to start with, the acoustics and set-up are promising, the audience is engaged and the performance becomes one that balances individual and collective strengths, invention and moments of sheer excitement. It all happened when Ballister stormed De Studio on March 22nd of 2015.
Spanish twosome Duot had already delivered a strong set when the trio walked into the stately room. The atmosphere was relaxed, but anticipation was in the air. Before this concert, Ballister already had six releases under its belt, and they had shown what a supple and fearsome unit they could be. As members of the Chicago community, reed player Dave Rempis and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm had a long history together, but powerhouse drummer Paal Nilssen-Love was hardly a newcomer in their midst either, as he has been one of the key players in an international collaboration that started nearly two decades ago between the Windy City's free jazz scene and their Scandinavian counterparts.
Still, nothing prepared us for the set that Ballister delivered. It all started with an avalanche of sound that left the spectators (and probably also the musicians) no other option than to follow and try to keep up. If Greg Cohen once described a legendary concert as being dragged behind a Mack Truck, this was something similar. The concert had its mellower moments, when one or two of the members could step back for a while and let individual textures, nuance and ideas come to the foreground. But just like many concerts are remembered because of a particular moment or event, this was all about a display of collective invention. And balls.
Rempis's streaming input and sneaky flurries up and down the alto's register meshed with Lonberg-Holm's cello & electronics wizardry - verging from dirty bass-like growls to neurotic murmurs and screaming feedback - with a crackling tension, while Nilssen-Love provided the motor that kept driving things on and on, continually distributing new layers of sound of rhythms, a storm of metal and wood. The band's fearless navigation showed they were perfectly attuned to each other's energy and idiosyncrasies, remaining confident and indefatigable through powerful, voluminous passages and the more restrained, skittish ones.
It was the kind of performance that steered you into the unknown, but offered diverse and colorful signposts along the way. There was the direct chugging of rock-'n-roll, there was the triumphant singing of Rempis' saxophone, the endless coloring of Lonberg-Holm, the rumble of Nilssen-Love (facing towards the right, as usual, as if he was checking if anyone behind him could keep up). It was heavy and energetic, indeed, but their force never became gratuitous, because even during its most bellicose moments, its multiple cooking finales, when they added another level of intensity, and another, the music kept dancing and singing its song of ecstasy. "On a vu quelque chose grandiose," was the first thing the guy next to me said when we had slowly regained our breath afterwards. He was right."
Limited edition of 300 copies.
• Show Bio for Dave Rempis
"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 at the age of 22 was asked to replace veteran 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 and international collaborations for which he's currently known, including The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, Ballister, Rempis/Abrams/Ra, Wheelhouse, The Rempis/Rosaly Duo, and The Rempis/Daisy Duo. Many of these groups have been documented on the Okkadisk, 482 Music, Not Two, Clean Feed, Solitaire, and Utech record labels. Past collaborations have included performances with Paul Lytton, Axel Dörner, Peter Brötzmann, Hamid Drake, Steve Swell, John Tchicai, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Kevin Drumm, Paal Nilssen-Love, Nels Cline, Tony Buck, and Joe McPhee. Rempis has been named regularly since 2006 in the annual Downbeat Critics's Poll as a "rising star" on alto saxophone, and as a "rising star" and "established talent" on baritone saxophone.
Aside from performing, Rempis is also active as a presenter. Since 2002, he's curated a weekly Thursday-night concert series for the Elastic Arts Foundation. 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 a small group of musicians and presenters in Chicago to provide better playing opportunities for creative and improvising musicians. As part of this group, he organized the annual Umbrella Music Festival from 2006-2014.
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."-Dave Rempis Website (http://daverempis.com/bio/)
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• Show Bio for Fred Lonberg Holm
"Fred Lonberg-Holm (born 1962) is an American cellist based in Chicago. He relocated from New York City to Chicago in 1995. Lonberg-Holm is most identified with playing free improvisation and free jazz. He is also a composer of concert works. As a session musician and arranger, he is credited on many rock, pop, and country records. Lonberg-Holm currently leads the Valentine Trio, with Jason Roebke (bass) and Frank Rosaly (drums). This jazz trio performs original compositions as well as tunes by both jazz composers (e.g. Sun Ra) and pop songwriters (e.g. Jeff Tweedy, Syd Barrett). The group released its first album Terminal Valentine, in 2007, which was reviewed by AllAboutJazz critic Nils Jacobson.
He coordinates and directs performances of his Lightbox Orchestra, an improvising ensemble with a flexible, ever-changing membership. Lonberg-Holm does not play an instrument in this group, but rather conducts its non-idiomatic improvisations via the "lightbox" and by holding up handwritten signs. The lightbox contains a light bulb for each musician which Lonberg-Holm switches on or off to suggest when they should play. Collective groups of which Lonberg-Holm is a member include Terminal 4 who released an album, in 2003, called When I'm Falling that received four and a half stars, and AMG Album Pick by Allmusic, and it was reviewed by Allmusic's Joslyn Layne, The Boxhead Ensemble, Pillow, the Lonberg-Holm/Kessler/Zerang trio (with Kent Kessler and Michael Zerang), and the Dörner/Lonberg-Holm duo (with Axel Dörner).
Among groups led by other people, he is a member of the Vandermark 5, the Joe McPhee Trio, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Keefe Jackson's Fast Citizens, and Ken Vandermark's Territory Band. When he lived in New York, Lonberg-Holm frequently collaborated with the rock group God Is My Co-Pilot pianist and composer Anthony Coleman as well as multi-instrumentalist Paul Duncan of Warm Ghost. In Chicago, he has worked with Jim O'Rourke, Bobby Conn (on "Llovessonngs"  and "The Golden Age" ), The Flying Luttenbachers, Lake Of Dracula, Wilco, Rivulets, Mats Gustafsson, Sten Sandell, Jaap Blonk, John Butcher, and a great many others.
Lonberg-Holm's concert works have been premiered by William Winant, Carrie Biolo, the Austin New Music Co-Op, Subtropics Ensemble, Duo Atypica, the Schanzer/Speach Duo, New Winds, Paul Hoskin, Kevin Norton, the E.S.P. Ensemble, and others. His scores for dance have been performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Dance Theater Workshop as well as many other venues. He is a former composition student of Anthony Braxton and Morton Feldman. He performed improvised music in the role of a troubled composer who finds inspiration in the love of a couple he spots on the street in a short film for the Playboy channel."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Lonberg-Holm)
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• Show Bio for Paal Nilssen-Love
"Paal Nilssen-Love was born in Molde, Norway, Dec 24. 1974, and raised at a jazz club in Stavanger, run by his parents. It was natural to choose his fathers drums as his instrument and jazz as his work. From 1990 on he took actively part in the jazz milieu in Stavanger and joined bands with established musicians such as trumpeter Didrik Ingvaldsen and saxophonist Frode Gjerstad. In many ways, these collaborations were essential as they pointed out the directions for Paal's later musical development and career. During his studies at the Jazz dept at the University in Trondheim, where the first self initiated bands were established, things developed really fast - and Paal was nationally acknowledged at the age of 20.
The forming of the quartet Element in 1993 in many ways represented the start of a new phase in Paal's musical life. Element musically became a platform for several other groups with bassist Flaten and pianist Wiik, and lead to collaborations with Iain Ballamy and Chris Potter, amongst others. Paal moved to Oslo in 1996, where he joined and/or took part in the forming of bands like Vindaloo, SAN, Håkon Kornstad Tio, The Quintet and Frode Gjerstad Trio. He later on got more into self initiated projects and collaborations with Swedish musicians, such as pianist Sten Sandell and saxophonist Mats Gustafsson.
Paal played his first solo concert in 1999, and since then the solo concept has been an important part of his work: "Everyone should try doing some solo work, just to feel who you really are and what gets you going". His solo album "Sticks and stones" was put out in 2001 on SOFA Rec.
Being active in several bands at the same time has always been Paal's deliberate working method. He is constantly conscious about the projects he is in, as his participation in each and one of them is fully dedicated. Playing is not about getting from start to goal, but rather being in an everlasting process, a continuous movement where each new piece of music performed is a prolongation of the latest. Hence, keeping focused and concentrating all energy around what's happening there and then is of greatest importance - as is the freedom in the music, the ability of being free within the expression.
All bands, although various styles and musical versatility in general, represent important pieces that make up a total, and all bands are formed or joined with a clear vision. Today Paal's portfolio includes Atomic, School Days, The Thing, Frode Gjerstad Trio, Sten Sandell Trio, Scorch Trio, Territory Band, FME, and various duo projects such as with reedmen Ken Vandermark, John Butcher, Mats Gustafsson, organist Nils Henrik Asheim and noise wizard Lasse Marhaug. And not to forget the recently joined Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet."-Paal Nilssen-Love Website (http://www.paalnilssen-love.com/biography.php)
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