driff1304: Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet: Circuitous.

driff1304: Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet: Circuitous.
Label: Driff Records
Catalog Number: driff1304
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Dave Rempis, tenor, alto & bari sax 
Keefe Jackson, tenor sax, bass & contrabass clarinet 
Pandelis Karayorgis, piano 
Nate McBride, bass 
Frank Rosaly, drums

1. Undertow 06:03 
2. Nudge 06:30 
3. Swarm 09:37 
4. Circuitous 05:30 
5. Vortex 08:51 
6. Evenfall 04:36 
7. Blue Line 09:14 
8. Here in July 05:18 
9. Souvenir 05:26 

released 01 June 2013 
All compositions and arrangements by Pandelis Karayorgis, Stray Line Publishing, ASCAP. 
Recorded at Chicago Public Media’s Jim & Kay Mabie Performance Studio by Mary Gaffney on January 16th, 2012. 
Mixed, edited and mastered by Antonio Oliart.
Photography by Peter Gannushkin/DowntownMusic.net.
Graphic design by Hidde Dijkstra.
Liner notes by Stuart Broomer. 
Special thanks to Jeff Kimmel, Josh Berman, Mike Reed, Peter Gannushkin and Peter Margasak.

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Habitués of this space probably know of my esteem for Boston pianist and composer Pandelis Karayorgis, a musician whose rigorous explorations of the less frequented corners of jazz history have consistently yielded deeply original and compelling new sounds. He's managed to revisit the work of pianists like Lennie Tristano, Herbie Nichols, Elmo Hope, Hassan, and early Cecil Taylor and bring back consistently fresh ideas in all sorts of contexts. Earlier this year he and Boston-based reedist Jorrit Dijkstra launched Driff Records—the label just added four new titles to its catalog, and they have me thinking that this might be the most exciting new jazz label in 2013.

Circuitous is a recording that highlights the pianist's strong connection to Chicago—which was forged back in the 90s when reedist Guillermo Gregorio first worked with him, and has been strengthened by his sporadic projects with Ken Vandermark; it's a marvelous quintet with reedists Dave Rempis and Keefe Jackson (who leads a trio tonight for a free show at Constellation), bassist Nate McBride, and drummer Frank Rosaly. All of those musicians are Chicagoans (although McBride has recently returned to Boston). Karayorgis has discussed the fact that he used the classic Tony Williams album Spring as a model for the instrumentation of this group, but the sound is all its own, with punchy, angular melodies, a wide dynamic range (from the softest rustling to the loudest, juddering blasts), and ingenious arrangements that color in the oblique melodies and provide endless suspense. In fact, as strong as the solos are throughout the record, I almost enjoy the composed sections most, like the brilliantly onomatopoeic buzzing that opens "Swarm," which you can hear below. This band has performed on a handful occasions in Chicago, including a strong gig at last year's Umbrella Music Festival, but I sure hope this release brings another one, stat.

Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, June 2013.