Rempis/Abrams/Ra + Baker





Rempis/Abrams/Ra + Baker

This performance is made possible through the generous support of Luis Torregrosa.


  • Dave Rempis, saxophone
  • Jim Baker, piano/electronics
  • Joshua Abrams, bass
  • Avreeayl Ra, drums

Event Details

Times and dates of performances are subject to change.

This performance is generously sponsored by Luis Torregrosa.

See our Edgefest page for more information about the festival. 

Additional support for Edgefest is made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.

Dave Rempis

Saxophonist and composer Dave Rempis was born in Wellesley, Massachusetts, moving in 1993 to Chicago in to study classical saxophone at Northwestern University with Frederick Hemke. Finding this environment stifling, Rempis quickly ditched the music degree to pursue studies in anthropology and ethnomusicology. During that time, he spent a year at the International Centre for African Music and Dance at the University of Ghana, Legon, studying African music and ethnomusicology. After graduation, he was asked to replace Mars Williams in the well-known Chicago group The Vandermark Five in March of 1998. During his tenure with The Five, Rempis also began to develop the many Chicago-based groups and international collaborations for which he is currently known, including The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, Ballister, Rempis/Abrams/Ra, Wheelhouse, The Rempis/Rosaly Duo, and The Rempis/Daisy Duo, touring internationally and garnering several prestigious awards. In addition to performing, Rempis is also active as a presenter; curating concerts and serving as president of the board of the Elastic Arts Foundation, helping form the presenters’ collective Umbrella Music, and serving as the Operations Manager for the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

Jim Baker

Jim Baker studied piano with Thomas Scott and composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana with Morgan Powell and Herbert Brun. Since the 1980s he has been mainstay of the Chicago improvisors scene, noted for his work with Kent Kessler and Michael Zerang. He then played with Fred Anderson, Guillermo Gregorio, Ken Vandermark, Edward Wilkerson and many others. He made his first recordings in 1995 with the trio Caffeine (consisting of Baker, Ken Vandermark and Steve Hunt). Baker appeared on European jazz festivals, with Vandermark’s Chicago Improvisers at the Moers Festival and with Fred Lonberg-Holm at the Tampere Jazz Happening in Finland. In 1996 he performed at the FMP in a trio with Rüdiger Carl and Stephan Wittwer in the Chicago Festival. In the following years he worked with Steve Beresford, Damon Short, Nicole Mitchell, Dave Rempis and the Exploding Star Orchestra, participating in nearly forty recording sessions.

Joshua Abrams

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Bassist and composer Joshua Abrams’ early formative musical experiences include performing in a chamber group conducted by Earle Brown and busking on the streets of Philadelphia as an original member of The Roots. Since the mid-1990s, Abrams has been a key figure in Chicago’s creative music communities and an international touring musician with artists in various genres. In 2010, Abrams formed the project Natural Information Society, a group that creates long-form psychedelic environments that join the hypnotic qualities of the guimbri, a Gnawan lute, to a wide range of contemporary music and methodologies including jazz, minimalism, and experimental rock. He has scored numerous feature films, including The Trials of Muhammad Ali and appeared on over one hundred recordings; just this year he was the recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award.

Avreeayl Ra

Drummer/percussionist Avreeayl Ra grew up in Chicago in a house full of music: his father, Arthur “Swinglee” O’Neil, was a tenor saxophonist who mentored many young Chicago musicians, including John Gilmore. He studied drums with Kelan Philip Cohran, one of the cofounders of the AACM and has since remained a member of that organization. Ra has performed and/or recorded with Fred Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Fontella Bass, Lester Bowie, Ari Brown, Oscar Brown, Jr., Charles Gayle, Henry Grimes, Billy Harper, Joseph Jarman, Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Nicole Mitchell, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders, Malachi Thompson, and many others.

According to the Chicago Tribune he is “an indispensable Chicago innovator, Avreeayl Ra shapes the music-making swirling around him with remarkable precision and poise... extraordinarily sensitive percussion.”

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