in performance: ballister

dave rempis of ballister.

dave rempis of ballister.

Ballister landed in town last night very much a force of nature. A sharp, violent snap of percussion by Oslo drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and a tenor sax wail of truly terrifying proportions by Dave Rempis triggered something of a storm within the contained concrete walls of Collexion. With the building’s natural resonance serving as a sort of organic amplifier for the two completely un-amped players, the resulting 20 minute improvisation possessed an earthshattering and – during several cyclic percussive patterns from Nilssen-Love – almost rockish intensity.

fred lonberg-holm

fred lonberg-holm

Then, practically on the turn of a dime, the sound receded so that the tapped (with a bow) melodies of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, the trio’s remaining member, emerged as a countering voice. It was as if high tide had receded, leaving a newly charmed sound in its wake.

Such was the appeal of the three extended, untitled improvisations (two 20 minute excursions, which comprised the first set, and a single 30 minute marathon that took up all of the second) that Ballister engaged in during the evening. The primary differences in the works from a design standpoint was Rempis’ choice of weaponry. His tenor sax drive fueled the first improv, a raw and unforgiving alto charge ran through the second, while a beautifully luxurious baritone luster – which unfolded in drone-like atmospherics, playful honks and hushed, melodic tones – ignited much of the third. The latter improv set up especially mischievous dialogue between the saxophonist and Lonberg-Holm.

paal nilssen-love.

paal nilssen-love.

All in all, the concert was a potent display of instinct, dynamics and a little good ol’ improvisational terror.

A footnote: Ballister’s performance doubled as an anniversary for the ongoing Outside the Spotlight Series of improvisational and free jazz concerts. Its first show was staged on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2002. Since then, a host of world class jazz sessions, including multiple outings in other groups by all three Ballister members, have found a performance home in Lexington. Cheers to OTS chieftain Ross Compton for cultivating and maintaining an audience for the kind of jazz that favors artistic invention over commercial routine and visibility. Lexington’s overall artistic profile is all the richer thanks to his work.



Comments are closed.


Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | About Our Ads | Copyright