Dave Rempis Credit: Cengiz Yar

When you want to put together an improvising ensemble whose interactions will be unpredictable as well as satisfying, it helps to recruit someone who has your back and someone else who isn’t afraid to push the music somewhere you didn’t think it would go. For one night in December 2018, Chicago alto, tenor, and baritone saxophonist Dave Rempis convened a personal dream team, full of musicians who can play both roles: Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love is Rempis’s long-standing collaborator in the ferociously aggressive trio Ballister, but his attention to detail and textural variety comes in just as handy for nurturing slow-building tension. Cellist Tomeka Reid and double bassist Brandon Lopez have each worked with Rempis in combos that mix classical sonorities with mercurial shifts of mood. And multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, who turned 79 one month before the concert, can transform the emotional tenor of an entire performance with a few grave notes. This splendid CD, which follows an LP-only first volume recorded at the same show, contains plenty of high-energy blowing, but it’s often the quiet, contrasting gestures hidden with the storms that make it so compelling.   v