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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Dresser / Gerry Hemingway / Assif Tsahar: Code Re(a)d

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Code Re(a)d documents the live, free improvised meeting of Israeli saxophonist Assif Tsahar with the massive rhythm section of double bass master Mark Dresser and powerful drummer Gerry Hemingway, recorded at Tshar's home base, the Levontin 7 club in Tel Aviv in May 2011. Dresser and Hemingway began to play together in the legendary Anthony Braxton Quartet (with pianist Marilyn Crispell), almost thirty years ago and continued to play together in various, respective solo projects, developing a unique, telepathic rapport. Tsahar has not met such a powerful rhythm section since his early collaborations with double bassist William Parker or his ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Mark Dresser: Nourishments

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Well-established as one of the foremost virtuoso contrabassists on the face of the planet, Mark Dresser has turned his attention to a variety of other projects over the past few years. The former member of Anthony Braxton's “classic" quartet with drummer Gerry Hemingway and pianist Marilyn Crispell, Dresser's best known recent work has been with drummer Matt Wilson and pianist Myra Melford in Trio M. He's also recorded numerous albums- usually as a soloist or a member of small co-operative groups-for top-rank labels such as Clean Feed, Tzadik, and Cryptogramophone. A full Professor at the University of California, San Diego ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Dresser Quintet: Nourishments

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Influential master bassist Mark Dresser leads his first quintet outing in nearly two decades. His complex compositions span an abundance of odd-metered time signatures, whether the song forms are buoyant, temperate or soul-searching. It's a very involved storyline that yields fruitful rewards. Indeed, the program is a kaleidoscopic ride that includes brash or probing solos by saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and trombonist Michael Dressen. But it's Dresser himself who maintains command and control by steering the band through these progressive and slightly off-kilter movements, fringing on the avant-garde spectrum. Moreover, the leader provides a play-by-play on a per-track basis in the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Dresser Quintet: Nourishments

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Master double bassist Mark Dresser's first quintet recording since Force Green (Soul Note, 1995) works in several courses. Its compositions are centered around Dresser's personal approach to the jazz tradition and the song form, emphasizing the charismatic playing of all the quintet members, the importance of the beauty of the melody, and cyclical forms. At the same time these compositions integrate innovative compositional elements from new music and embody explorations from his solo bass playing in recent years, including extended techniques, structured improvisation and timbre sculpting. To borrow a phrase that visionary reed player Anthony Braxton (with whom Dresser worked ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Dresser Quintet: Nourishments

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There's evidence of bassist Mark Dresser's audacity and originality in his sideman work with Satoko Fujii, opening the title tune of the Japanese pianist's Trace a River (Libra Records, 2008) with a ghostly arco whine that sounds as if it drifted in out of the twilight zone, before the ever-mercurial Fujii shifts the tune into a mini-riot between piano, drummer Jim Black and Dresser--a fight that the bassist seems to have (temporarily) won, via the emergence from the maelstrom of his rumbling, chest-thumping pizzicato solo. He's a bit more restrained on his work in the title tune of The Guest ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Dresser Quintet: Nourishments

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Mark Dresser has risen to the very upper echelon of the double-bass world in the most impressive fashion: by choosing the road less traveled. His path of virtuosity has eschewed the conventional metrics of velocity over changes in favor of the development of a highly personal improvising language that includes timbre gradients, two-handed tapping, use of hammered bi-tones, and the amplification of subtle overtones of striking aural properties.He returns to explore ensemble music under his own leadership with this new recording of his long-standing East Coast Quintet featuring Denman Maroney on “hyper-piano" ( a variant on the prepared ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mark Dresser / Myra Melford / Michael Dessen: San Diego: April 17, 2011

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Mark Dresser / Myra Melford / Michael DessenUC San Diego, UC IrvineSan Diego, CAApril 17, 2011 The University of California has been heavily involved in the advancement of “telematic" performances now for over 10 years. Utilizing the Internet2 (a not-for-profit advanced networking consortium) and super high-speed bandwidth networks, as well as state-of-the-art video and audio connections, telematic events feature musicians in different co-locations, interacting with each other and the audience in absolute real-time. The technology responsible for this (both hardware and software) is five years ahead of what is currently available on the market, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mark Dresser, Matthias Ziegler and Denman Maroney: San Diego, February 4, 2011

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Mark Dresser / Denman Maroney / Matthias ZieglerConrad Prebys Concert Hall, UCSDSan Diego, CAFebruary 4, 2011 Dresser, Maroney and Ziegler have a wealth of performing experience as a unit, although surprisingly, this was their first performance together since 2003. Held in the acoustically superb Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, this reunion (which brought Denman Maroney from New York and Matthias Ziegler from Switzerland) was first class all the way. The roots of the Mark Dresser Trio run deep. Dresser's relationship with “hyper-pianist" Maroney dates back to 1989, when the two first gigged ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mark Dresser Quintet Live at Dizzy's, San Diego

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Mark Dresser QuintetDizzy'sSan Diego, CAOctober 10, 2010 Double bass virtuoso Mark Dresser is a player whose expertise in multiple genres defies categorization. His is the story of the student becoming the maestro. Growing up, he was inspired by rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, and bassist/composer Charles Mingus, and he began his formal studies with a classical music education--soon with Nat Gangursky, a pupil of Herman Rheinshagen, the man who mentored Mingus.When it comes to jazz, he took lessons from Red Mitchell and Bill Plummer and a master-class with the inimitable Ray Brown while ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Mark Dresser: Guts

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Mark DresserGutsKadima Collective Recordings2010 He doesn't receive anywhere near the publicity given to his friend, and fellow bassist, William Parker, but make no mistake about it: Mark Dresser is a giant in the free jazz / new music continuum and has been so for years. Dresser has been keeping a still lower profile since moving from New York back to San Diego to work in academia at University of California at San Diego's music department. The material on Guts--which is subtitled Bass Explorations, Investigations and Explanations--is organized as a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Dresser & Denman Maroney: Live In Concert

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Bassist Mark Dresser is a veteran of Anthony Braxton's quartet and Denman Maroney is the creator of the term “hyperpiano," used to distinguish his approach from that of other pianists using prepared techniques for piano. Those two factors alone say enough about where their music is coming from, which by default arguably places great emphasis on where they take it.

The program they conjure from out of the ether here covers a number of bases without losing either focus or clarity. From the start it's clear that their happily shared vocabulary is an extensive one, and by the time the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt / Achim Kaufmann / Mark Dresser: Starmelodics

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Canadian drummer and composer Harris Eisenstadt spans a broad spectrum. He has written for large ensemble, octets and small groups, in styles ranging from chamber to Senegalese pop. Though particularly enamored of African drum rhythms he also works readily in totally improvised settings, so his name on the sleeve rarely betokens an expected outcome. On Starmelodics, the drummer in conjunction with German pianist Achim Kaufmann and bass virtuoso Mark Dresser takes a slightly sideways look at the modern piano trio, blending the written with free improvisation, with sometimes almost imperceptible joins. All three are equals in composition ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Dresser / Ed Harkins / Steven Schick: House of Mirrors

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House of Mirrors is a remarkable project in collaborative music making. It began in 1999 when bassist Mark Dresser expressed interest in supplying tones to complex rhythmic materials developed experimentally by the composer and trumpeter Ed Harkins. Eventually what began long-distance between the Brooklyn-based Dresser and the Californian Harkins became a regular interaction in 2004 when Dresser joined Harkins on the faculty of University of California at San Diego. A year later percussionist Steven Schick, who has recorded the complete solo percussion music of Iannis Xenakis, made the group a trio. The work is some distance from Dresser's more improvisatory ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Mark Dresser: The Beautiful Enabler & Point of Contact

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MaugerThe Beautiful EnablerClean Feed2008 Bob and Ellen WellerPoint of ContactCircumvention Music2008 In the few years since his departure from daily life in New York, bassist Mark Dresser's activities have been very well documented. Two new discs feature him in trio format, one with East Coast musicians, including longtime partner drummer Gerry Hemingway, and the other with fellow San Diego improvisers. Mauger is a collective trio comprised of saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, Dresser ...



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