8 p.m. May 15 at Dixieland Gardens, 110 Luigart Court. $5. (859) 257-4636.
A little more than two years ago, Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis, a frequent guest of Lexington's long-running Outside the Spotlight Series, discovered that the best way to chronicle and share his numerous improvisatory and free jazz projects was to record them himself.
Indie labels were fine. But even in that company, Rempis could release only a fraction of his prolific musical output. So Aerophonic Records was born, a label that has issued 10 recordings of Rempis-related music, including 2014's Spectral, the debut of a dual saxophone-trumpet trio that performs Friday night for OTS.
"It's been incredibly rewarding to be able to put out a much broader palette of things that I'm working on," Rempis says. "I'm free to put out whatever I want that I feel has some artistic merit to it. Aside from that angle of things, the label continues the connections I've made with fans, with writers, with other people who are all part of the music on an ongoing basis."
The Spectral trio teams Rempis with two San Francisco Bay-area artists: trumpeter Darren Johnston and ROVA Saxophone Quartet member Larry Ochs. The band presents a novel configuration: three horns and no rhythm section. But the music the three create is both grounded in its sense of organization and open enough to encourage the level of improvisatory intensity that has distinguished all of Rempis' performance projects.
"We make very clear decisions and really consider the longer-term ramifications of what we're doing over the course of a piece of music," Rempis says. "Some of the bands I play with will do a 45-minute set of improvising, which I certainly love. The tunes with this trio tend to be a bit shorter, anywhere from the five- to eight-minute range, and are a little more tightly focused at times.
"But one of the most challenging things about this group is its untraditional instrumentation. So your role as an instrumentalist and as a member of the band becomes an opportunity to redefine what you do on your instrument and how you fit into an ensemble, since there isn't a drummer or a bass player. It creates a lot of openings for you to make decisions as an improviser and instrumentalist about what other roles could you play."
6:30 p.m. May 18 at the Morris Book Shop, 882 E. High St. $5. (859) 257-4636.
OTS will remain on a roll after this weekend winds down.
On Monday, the series will welcome back Lexington-born guitarist Ross Hammond for a solo acoustic performance designed to showcase the spirituals, original tunes and progressive Americana music from his new album, Flight. Like Rempis, he has issued the work on his own label, Sacramento, Calif.-based Prescott Records.
Perhaps the most immediate spirit sifting through the album's 15 tunes is that of pioneering guitarist John Fahey, whose innovations with the phrasings and tones of folk and blues traditions bubble under Hammond's treatments of the spiritual On the Rock Where Moses Stood and the folk standard You Are My Sunshine.
You can play "spot the influence" throughout Flight. One of the record's sharpest originals, Womuts!, brings to mind the great British folk guitarist John Renbourn, who died earlier this year.
But the wildest part of this gorgeously recorded acoustic album is its radical stylistic departure from the music Hammond has explored over the years on the West Coast.
He is far better known as an electric player at the helm of free-jazz combos and ensembles. On Monday, though, Hammond's flight will be a purely solo journey.