Michael Dessen is a composer-improviser who performs on the slide trombone and computer. Active in a variety of ensembles as leader or collaborator, he creates music for improvisers and engages new technologies of telepresence and digital networking. His music has been praised by critics in numerous jazz and contemporary music publications, and recorded on labels such as Clean Feed, Cuneiform, and Circumvention. Dessen's teachers include Yusef Lateef, George Lewis, and Anthony Davis, and he has also been schooled through extensive freelance experiences ranging from salsa bands to avant-garde new music ensembles. He has published writings on music and culture, and is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the University of California, San Diego. In 2006, he joined the music faculty of the University of California, Irvine, where he co-founded a new graduate program in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology (ICIT).
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"Michael Dessen is, according to a frequent employer, the
contrabass virtuoso Mark Dresser, 'a black-belt trombonist.'
.... Dessen's music is so fresh and innovative that there are
few precedents with which to compare it. He does not use
chords and harmony in any traditional sense, yet there was a
deep harmonic connection between the trombone and bass
for every note and idea transmitted.... Despite the extended
length of the suite, the audience was hardly given the chance
for its attention to waver�"Dessen's music was too full of
information for that to be possible.... Once sure it was over,
the enthusiastic audience erupted with supportive whistles,
shouts and sustained applause. A stunning example of
creative, adventurous music, utterly devoid of cliché,
stretching even the frontiers of free jazz beyond recognition."
- All About Jazz, Robert Bush