467

Mauger: The Beautiful Enabler

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Mauger: The Beautiful Enabler The Beautiful Enabler is the debut recording of the collective trio Mauger, which features the enviable talents of alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Gerry Hemingway. According to Hemingway, "the group gets its name from a letter scramble of the first two letters of each of our names and is a preposition defined, "in opposition to, notwithstanding" which seems appropriate to creating art in our time."

Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway share a working relationship that dates back to 1975, with a stint together in the early eighties as members of composer Anthony Braxton's classic quartet. Their finely tuned rapport borders on the telepathic on these loosely structured tunes, as they hone in on the other's next move with the skill of seasoned chess players.

New to this veteran partnership is Rudresh Mahanthappa, widely known for his longstanding association with progressive pianist Vijay Iyer. While Dresser and Hemingway are adept interpreters of the most esoteric compositional concepts (Braxton's, for example), Mahanthappa and Iyer have made such intricate methodology their calling card, as demonstrated on the recent Tragicomic (Sunnyside, 2008). Hearing the saxophonist let loose in this unfettered setting is surprising and poignant; it is easily his most exploratory playing on record.

Consisting of two tunes from each member and one collectively composed improvisation, the album's seven skeletal frameworks inspire selfless interaction from the trio, who demonstrate careful listening skills and a magnanimous approach to soloing.

Dresser's contrabass is notoriously resonant. His kaleidoscopic arco work offers breathtaking harmonies that invoke the sonic density of a small string section, generously supported by Hemingway's nuanced cymbal work and subtle accents. Hemingway uses well-placed silences for dramatic effect, contrasting them with rousing polyrhythms and churning free-form interludes.

Mahanthappa's tart alto careens through this percussive mosaic with circuitous glee. Inspired by his cohorts' advanced techniques, he draws from an expansive sonic palette of false fingerings, oscillating multiphonics and acerbic overblown notes that he seamlessly incorporates into oblique, intervallic cadences.

Lyrically accessible, Dresser's tunes, "Flac" and the title track, recall the plangent euphony of fellow associate Marty Ehrlich with their bittersweet melodies. Hemingway's opener "Acuppa" is equally vibrant, setting the stage for a vigorous solo from Mahanthappa, whose own tunes veer from the mournful ballad "Intone" to the escalating turbulence of "I'll See You When I Get There." "Bearings" and "Meddle Music" reveal the trio at their most adventurous, uncoiling splintery shards in carefully delegated collective improvisations.

A snapshot of three masterful improvisers at the top of their game, Dresser, Hemingway and Mahanthappa demonstrate true clarity of expression on The Beautiful Enabler. Competent jazz albums are commonplace, but a session this good should not be overlooked.

Visit Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway on the web.


Track Listing: Acuppa; Bearings; Flac; Intone; The Beautiful Enabler; I'll See You When I Get There; Meddle Music.

Personnel: Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone; Mark Dresser: double bass; Gerry Hemingway: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Terre II" CD/LP/Track Review Terre II
by Tyran Grillo
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Windows" CD/LP/Track Review Windows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Aerials" CD/LP/Track Review Aerials
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: April 20, 2016
Read "Odil - Something" CD/LP/Track Review Odil - Something
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 27, 2016
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by John Sharpe
Published: June 22, 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!

Buy it!