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Mark Dresser Seven: Sedimental You

Mark Sullivan By

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Mark Dresser Seven: Sedimental You Bassist/composer Mark Dresser has long maintained a bi-coastal career. Born in Los Angeles, for many years his base of operations was New York—including ten years as a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet—but since 2004 he has been on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego. The all-star septet on Sedimental You bridges the East and West Coast scenes, and provides an ensemble capable of a wide range of sounds and textures.

Flautist Nicole Mitchell is a West Coast colleague, an important part of Dresser's West Coast quintet. Clarinetist Marty Ehrlich has a long experimental jazz history, having recorded with Julius Hemphill, John Carter, Andrew Hill, and Bobby Previte, among others. Violinist David Morales Boroff is a newcomer, the wild card of the album, who Dresser describes as having "a freaky ear." Trombonist Michael Dessen is another Southern Californian who has been a regular Dresser collaborator. Pianist Joshua White has toured internationally with Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls band. Drummer Jim Black has an extensive list of credits, including work with Tim Berne, Dave Douglas, and Uri Caine.

Opener "Hobby Lobby Horse" has a long, convoluted line, which is interrupted by short solo commentaries by all of the group members. It introduces the players, and also demonstrates the balance between structure and freedom followed on the rest of the album. The title tune is a sly reference to the Tommy Dorsey hit "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," although the inspiration is well hidden in the fragmentary opening and closing sections. "TrumpinPutinStoopin" has an almost bebop head, an upbeat commentary on the current political climate.

"I Can Smell You Listening (For Alexandra Montano)" uses a lovely woodwind theme from the flute and clarinet to evoke the late mezzo-soprano. Other instruments join in, until the rhythm section finally accompanies a series of open solos, before the theme is again explored at length at the end. "Newtown Char" was created in response to the tragic mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Charleston, South Carolina. Dresser says he intended it as musical response to those events in the tradition of John Coltrane's "Alabama." Like its model it begins with a solo horn invocation, in this case Ehrlich's bass clarinet. The leader makes a plaintive statement during the closing section, and has the last word in the end.

This is a larger group than Dresser usually works with, and he uses those forces to make a large statement. Arguably his most complete musical declaration to date, Sedimental You is endlessly fascinating, from its complex compositions to its solo and group improvisations.

Track Listing: Hobby Lobby Horse; Sedimental You; Trumpinputinstoopin; Will Well (For Roswell Rudd); I Can Smell You Listening (For Alexandra Montano); Newtown Char; Two Handfuls Of Peace (For Daniel Jackson).

Personnel: Mark Dresser: contrabass; Nicole Mitchell: soprano and alto flutes; Marty Ehrlich: clarinet and bass clarinet; David Morales Boroff: violin; Michael Dessen: trombone; Joshua White: piano; Jim Black: drums and percussion.

Title: Sedimental You | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


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