Mark Dresser Quintet: Nourishments (2013)
But what does Mark Dresser do when he's in the leader chair? If Nourishments is an indication, he remains intrepidand as undefinable and original as saxophonist Henry Threadgill or pianist Andrew Hill.
The set features Dresser leading a standard jazz quintettwo horns, bass, piano and drumswhose music is anything but standard. "Not Withstanding" opens the set with a hurricane of ensemble interplay. Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa offers up the first distinctively unfettered solo, leading into a tumult of sound driven by Dresser's bass and Michael Dessen's trombone, backed by Tom Rainey's clamorous, insurrectionary drumming. The thirteen-minute title tune rambles to life as a sort of drunken rhumba that shifts, after the leader's intricate arco turn, to a soothing lullaby that eventually moves into a somber squabble between Mahanthappa and Dessen, before tripping back to lullaby land.
Pianist Denman Maroney is one key to the success of this collective's sounds. He plays what is called "Hyper-piano," a style in which objectstools, toys and whatnotare applied to the piano strings for the creation of sounds ("eerie" is the word that comes most readily to mind) that reach far beyond the normal timbre of the instrument, or any other instrument, for that matteradding a uniqueness to the ensemble sound. Another key is the useon different tunesof two very different drummersTom Rainey, with his obstreperous approach, and Michael Sarin, who is more given to subtletyto fluid bounce and pop.
A good deal of Dresser's ensemble work is done in collectives, with no single star outshining the other: Trio M; Mauger, with drummer Gerry Hemingway and saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa; and the Mark Dresser Quintet. It's all about the music, as they sayand as it is on Nourishments, one of 2013's stand-out sets.
Track Listing: Not Withstanding; Canales Rose; Para Waltz; Nourishments; Apertivo; Rasa; Telemojo.
Personnel: Mark Dresser: contrabass; Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone; Michael Dessen: trombone; Denman Maroney: hyper-piano; Tom Rainey: drums; Michael Sarin: drums.
Record Label: Clean Feed Records
Style: Fringes of Jazz