Dave Rempis began his musical studies at the age of 8, inspired by a family friend who played clarinet in local Greek bands, and by Zoot, of the Muppets Band, to pick up saxophone. In 1993, Rempis began a degree in 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. As part of these studies, he spent a year at the International Centre for African Music and Dance at the University of Ghana, Legon, studying African music and ethnomusicology. He continued to perform with many different types of groups, ranging from highlife and reggae bands while in Ghana, to jazz, free jazz, funk and contemporary music ensembles at home.
In March of 1998 was asked to join the well-known Chicago jazz outfit The Vandermark Five. The majority of his work nowadays is done with the many Chicago-based groups that he currently leads or collaborates with. These include The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, The Outskirts, The Rempis/Daisy Duo, Bishop/Rempis/Kessler/Zerang, and Wheelhouse. Past working groups include Triage, and the Dave Rempis Quartet. Rempis also performs and tours with Ken Vandermark’s Territory Band and Resonance Project, and The Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten Quintet.
From 2002 - 2005, Rempis curated a weekly Thursday-night concert series in conjunction with the Elastic Arts Foundation at their “3030” performance space in Humboldt Park. In the spring of 2006, he moved the series to EAF’s new Logan Square space, Elastic, where it continues today. In late 2005, Rempis helped form the presenters’ collective Umbrella Music, working with musicians and presenters from around Chicago to provide better playing opportunities for creative and improvising musicians. To learn more, visit his website.