9

Michael Dessen Trio: Resonating Abstractions

Robert Bush By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Dessen Trio: Resonating Abstractions Michael Dessen is a slide-trombone virtuoso and computer musician of the highest order, and the music his trio crafts on Resonating Abstractions showcases his work as a composer in compelling fashion. Key to this success are the contributions from singular double-bassist Chris Tordini and the multi-rhythmic drums of Dan Weiss. Together they realize and expand the structures of Dessen's vision, aided by the live-sampled or algorithmic electronics on roughly half the tracks.

"Grid After Grid," opens with Dessen's soft blustery blowing over Tordini's raw, deceptively elemental lines—everywhere there are ghost-like traces of the blues—absent any obvious references. Dynamics are handled with masterful flow, squall-to-hush, roar-to-murmur. Tordini emerges with a huge, woody resonance, striking some tones that cut through tissue and bone.

The electronics surface on the aptly titled "Organic and Unnatural Objects," a wild trombone-triggered nightmare and "Ignite," a feature for sputtering, stuttering blips and the cyclic fusillade of Weiss.

Dessen's plaintive, yearning melodies seem to trigger primal memories from a distant past, as on "The Infinite and the Invitation," where the force of his imagination connects with the unknowable. "While in the Subterrain," is Tordini's solo moment—featuring speaker-splitting guttural fragments and deep indigo moans.

"Where Does the Time Go," festers with violent, turgid rhythm stabs and live-sampled bone-doubling that skirts very close to a boiling sonic alchemy before dissolving into a superb vignette between bass and drums—veering finally into a hypnotic, pedal-toned meditation, flowing seamlessly into "To Make Real," an acoustic trio bristling with agitated energy, manic bass repetitions and waves of percussive assaults that turn into a prolonged exchange of hushed asides.

The computer-embellishments on Resonating Abstractions build on the trio's core-strengths as interpreters and improvisers, expanding the music and introducing wild-card elements of tension, but even the raw, unadorned acoustic trio weaves a full sonic curtain that sings, roars and rattles across the frequency spectrum.

Anyone curious about the state of the art in trombone improvising needs to investigate Michael Dessen, and Resonating Abstractions is a great place to start.

Track Listing: Grid After Grid; Organic and Unnatural Objects; Ignite; The Infinite and the Invitation; While in the Subterrain; Where Does Time Go; To Make Real.

Personnel: Michael Dessen: trombone, computer; Christopher Tordini: bass; Dan Weiss: drums.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Heads & Tales Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Heads & Tales Volume 2
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Functioning Broke" CD/LP/Track Review Functioning Broke
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute to Horace Parlan" CD/LP/Track Review My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute to Horace Parlan
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "American Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review American Tunes
by Mike Jacobs
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Revolution Before Lunch" CD/LP/Track Review Revolution Before Lunch
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!