Announcing the latest release from Dave Rempis’ Aerophonic Records, an aptly titled double CD, The COVID Tapes. Here’s an excerpt from Dave’s excellent liner notes:
“…the Hyde Park Jazz Festival (for which I also work as a producer…) invited Joshua Abrams to present an outdoor concert as part of their “Postcards” Series. He convened our trio with Tomeka Reid for this on August 14th, and we scouted out a location at a park two blocks from my house in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Seeing how well it worked, I continued this Friday evening series for the next two months. I mostly worked with Tyler Damon as a duo, sometimes adding Joshua on bass, and once adding Bill Harris for a double drum lineup. Matt Butchko, who I would refer to as a “superfan” of the music, generously came to each concert with the same portable mobile setup that he uses regularly at venues, with two small bud microphones positioned on top of his baseball hat. He managed to get good-sounding recordings, even outdoors. A huge debt of gratitude goes out to him for being there right up front for these and so many other concerts.
One of the interesting benefits of playing outside is evident on these recordings: all of the great background noises that play into the improvisations. Check out the overwhelming swells of sound from the chorus of cicadas, the punctuation of passing cars on Lake Shore Drive, and the cardinal calls at the end of the trio with Abrams and Reid for example. Or the truck beeping as it backs up at the end of the duo with Tim Daisy. Or the barking dog that passes through during the trio with Abrams and Damon. Those events all became a part of the music, and they’re presented here without any effort to filter them out, to give a better sense of what the experience of these concerts was actually like.”
Getting together for these impromptu shows and playing directly for an otherwise-atomized community week after week kept a fire in my belly through this mind-shattering time. I had always wanted to bring my music into the public sphere for the fun of it, anyway, so this was a perfect opportunity. I hope the music contained herein offers you respite like it has for me, a model for what is possible for live music even when barriers emerge for everyone in every direction. Preorder here: