Brandon Lopez, Dave Rempis, Ryan Packard Credit: Erika Raberg

The seven tracks on the Rempis/Lopez/Packard trio’s superb debut CD, The Early Bird Gets (Aerophonic), are named after prehistoric avian animals. Anytime a jazz band invokes birds, the ur-Bird—Charlie Parker—inevitably comes to mind. And while no one’s going to mistake the trio’s music for bebop, it does swing more than you’d expect given the backgrounds of some of the members. Alto, tenor, and baritone saxophonist Dave Rempis has been a stalwart part of Chicago’s jazz and improvised music community since 1997, and when he recruited bassist Brandon Lopez and drummer and electronic musician Ryan Packard two years ago, his intent was to connect with players of a younger generation. Lopez and Packard are deeply involved in experimental and new composed music, and the trio’s modus operandi involves improvising without fixed reference points, so they were as surprised as anybody when their music kept gravitating toward undeniably swinging rhythms. Their grooves impel Rempis to play quick, spiraling lines and balance his typically burly cries with richly textured tones. Since Lopez lives in Brooklyn and Packard recently left Chicago for Sweden, the trio doesn’t play together that often, but this gig kicks off a three-week Tuesday residency at Elastic during which the members will test their combustible chemistry by mixing in some new ingredients. Tonight they’ll be joined by piano and synthesizer player Jim Baker, and in their two upcoming concerts they’ll play with electronic musician Sam Pluta (January 21) and sound artist Jen Hill (January 28).   v