Dave Rempis – saxophones
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Nate McBride – bass
Tim Daisy – drums
[ti_audio media=”1756″]Live @ Okkafest July 2010
[ti_audio media=”1671″]”Four Feet of Slush” – Wire And Brass 2010
The Engines is a collaborative quartet founded in the spring of 2005. The group began as trio, featuring several mainstays of the Chicago improvised music scene: Dave Rempis on saxophones, Nate McBride on bass, and Tim Daisy on drums. In the spring of 2006, trombonist Jeb Bishop was added to the group for one concert. The dynamic of this lineup worked so well that Bishop immediately became a regular member of the band. Since then, they’ve been honing their skills across Chicago at many of the venues associated with creative music including the Empty Bottle, Hideout, Elastic, Hungry Brain, and the Velvet Lounge.
All of these musicians have distinguished themselves as leaders with their own groups, but formed this band to purposely shirk that duty in favor of a more equal musical relationship that better reflects the nature of their improvisations. Each member contributes original compositions to the group, providing a wide range of expression from high energy jousting over driving bass vamps to quieter moments of melodic exploration. With McBride on both acoustic and electric bass, the band can explore some of the sonic textures associated with the early AACM, or launch into hard-hitting Zeppelin-like grooves, and they use this range of possibilities to its fullest.
In the fall of 2007, their first self-titled cd was released on Bruno Johnson’s well-known Okkadisk imprint. The group toured the US and Canada in December of that year, and followed up with a European tour in the fall of 2008. Their second release, “Wire and Brass,” was a live recording made at Chicago’s Hungry Brain in April of 2008, and released by Okkadisk in February of 2010. The band finished a second tour of Europe in support of that release in March 2010. Their third cd, “Other Violets” was released in March of 2013 on Not Two, and features the legendary saxophonist John Tchicai as a special guest with the group. The band finished a two week, 13-concert tour of North America in April of 2013 in support of that release.
Possibly the finest new-jazz quartet to emerge from Chicago in the last decade, the band is a sleek dynamo of energetic flow as they weave inside and out: free-form solos seamlessly emerge from structured material while, on the other hand, mainstream riffs pop up when you least expect them.
-Neil Tesser, The Examiner
Without being pressured to be a steamroller at all times, these engines can guide the machine with surprising finesse, and the compositions, contributed by all four, embrace that freedom with abandon.
-Shaun Brady, Philadelphia City Paper
Ken Vandermark has done wonders for the Chicago avant-jazz scene, but his isn’t the only name to watch within that community. The new self-titled disc by the Engines—a leaderless band made up of four frequent Vandermark collaborators—is a great place to get acquainted with some of the Midwest city’s other heavies.
These engines can go from zero to 60 in a heartbeat and stop on a dime, but its when set on cruise control — guiding the listener with subtlety and finesse rather than steamroller force — that the ride is most enjoyable.
-The Columbia Free-Times
The front line taps into the deep grooves carved out by the rhythm section, which frequently bumps into the blues without exactly embracing it. Rempis and Bishop unfurl plenty of muscular, searching solos, but my favorite parts are when the two get tangled in each other’s lines: you can hear the years of experience at work in the way they support and challenge each other without getting in each other’s way.
-Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader
Perhaps it is because these four have played together so often and write for each other’s strengths that the tunes, varied as they are texturally and dynamically, seem of a piece, a real band playing band music rather than the Bishop/Rempis/McBride/Daisy 4.
-All About Jazz