It’s not often that Aerophonic Records has put out recordings by bands that are first-time groupings. There are a few notable ones, including AR024 and 026 - Of Things Beyond Thule Volume 1 and 2 featuring Joe McPhee, Tomeka Reid, Brandon Lopez, and Paal Nilssen-Love. Another one was AR029 Stringers and Struts with Jeff Parker, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and Jeremy Cunningham. Those lineups and performances were just too stellar to let them pass without being documented (and those records are all long sold out!). But most of the time we focus our efforts on working groups, a decision that's both artistic and financial in nature. So the fact that this quartet grouping made the cut already speaks volumes about the music they produced together on their first meeting.

In June 2023, pianist Pandelis Karayorgis paid one of his first visits back to Chicago since the pandemic. Prior to that time, the Boston-based pianist had a deep relationship to the city through work with reedist Ken Vandermark and bassist Nate McBride in the late 90's, which blossomed into many other artistic relationships in the decades to come. Rempis and Karayorgis first connected in Boston on a tour Rempis did with The Vandermark Five in 1999, and have maintained an important working relationship since that time. Rempis is a native Bostonian, whose father is Greek, so there were already cultural connections that bind them. Musically, their work in the longstanding Boston-based quartet Construction Party with Forbes Graham and Luther Gray has been a key focal point of their collaborations. Another was the Chicago-based quintet Karayorgis assembled in the early 2010's featuring Rempis alongside Keefe Jackson, Nate McBride, and Frank Rosaly. That band put out a pair of fantastic recordings of Karayorgis' compositions on Driff Records in 2013 and 2014.

For the start of this new era of Karayorgis' relationship to Chicago, Rempis assembled a quartet featuring a pair of younger musicians who by all accounts are among the best improvisers and instrumentalists of their generation on the Chicago scene - Jakob Heinemann on bass, and Bill Harris on drums. And the interplay of this band was spot on from the first downbeat, showing off a sensitivity to pacing, dynamics, and space on this recording that would be a rare feat even for a group that's worked together for years. While Karayorgis spins off circuitous lines that traipse through a yellow-brick road of possibilities before alighting on ingenious endings with a cagy wink to show he knew the path right from the start, Rempis hones in on specific intervals drawn from those lines, using them to construct larger scales and structures that serve as an uncommonly specific sort of counterpoint to Karayorgis' linearity. Meanwhile Heinemann and Harris produce some of the most sensitive and creative rhythm section accompaniment imaginable across the two pieces presented here. Let's hope this band becomes a more regular occurrence since this auspicious debut truly begs for it!

Dave Rempis - alto/tenor/bari saxophone
Pandelis Karayorgis - piano
Jakob Heinemann - bass
Bill Harris - drums

Recorded June 29th, 2023 at Elastic Arts, Chicago
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Dave Zuchowski

Artwork and cover design by Lasse Marhaug
Produced by Dave Rempis & Pandelis Karayorgis

Special thanks to Thomas Ferrella and David Stone at Blue Stem Jazz in Madison, WI