Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

467

Mauger: The Beautiful Enabler

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: The Beautiful Enabler | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Post Bop Gypsies" CD/LP/Track Review Post Bop Gypsies
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn" CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24" CD/LP/Track Review The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Tangofied III" CD/LP/Track Review Tangofied III
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016

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!