Monday, March 31, 2014

Mark Dresser Quintet, Nourishments

Mark Dresser, acoustic bass master, has not had an album under his own name in some time. So something new in that guise is an event, and in the case of his quintet doing Nourishments (Clean Feed 279), it's something of a triumph, too.

Dresser has assembled a unit of heavys and given them some appropriately tensile and involved originals to work with.

Rudresh Mahanthappa can pretty much be counted upon to blaze forth in whatever context he is in, and here on alto he does so, in addition to co-writing one of the originals. Michael Dessen is a trombonist who has color, power and finesse. He makes an excellent counterfoil to Rudresh in the front line. Denman Maroney has impressed over time as a pianist who can take things just about anywhere and do it his own way, and he shows that again on this date. At times he changes the sound of the piano radically by inserting something metallic onto the strings for a prepared-slide feel that is very interesting to hear. Tom Rainey and Michael Sarin alternate in the drum chair. Both have what it takes.

The band is very together, well-attuned to one another and well-routined in what they do. There's room for Dresser's impressive bass playing, as you would hope, and each band member gets his say.

Important free music this is, on any number of levels. A highlight of the season for me! Hear it, buy it, keep it!

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