West Coast trombonist and electronic artist Michael Dessen's electroacoustic trio with bassist Christopher Tordini and drummer Dan Weiss, balancing detailed compositions and radically open improvisation that equally embraces groove-based improv and soundscape.
Dessen, Michael Trio
Label: Clean Feed
Released in: Portugal
"California-based trombonist Michael Dessen has been quietly but steadily collecting accolades for his expansive work as a composer and improviser, which includes creating music for telematic concerts that link performers across continents via the internet, composing screen-displayed, software-generated "scorestreams," and peforming in Mark Dresser's acclaimed quintet where he forms the horn line with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa.
But it is with his own electro-acoustic trio, which he has been honing for a decade now, that we find Dessen's unique musical voice distilled in its most pure form. Dessen's third trio album, Resonating Abstractions, marks a new level of depth to the singular approach that critics acclaimed in the group's previous two releases, including the telepathic chemistry and phenomenal virtuosity of his renowned bandmates Chris Tordini (bass) and Dan Weiss (drums).
At the heart of this trio has always been a fascinating encounter between two extremes - intricate, detailed compositions and radically open improvisation - infused at times with live electronics to add another layer of dimensionality to the sonic palette. Rather than simply alternate between scored materials and improvisation, the musicians internalize complex structures and find new ways to bring them to life in each performance, blurring completely the boundaries between improvisation and composition to achieve an organically integrated whole.
Resonating Abstractions, a new work that Dessen created for the trio to peform in a single, continuous set, was recorded after a tour that enabled the musicians to mine the composition for new possibilities each night, and was done with minimal takes and no overdubs to capture the "live" spirit so central to Dessen's music. Commissioned through the prestigious "New Jazz Works" award given by Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Foundation, Resonating Abstractions draws its inspiration from seven contemporary, abstract painters, but rather than try to depict their work, Dessen describes the music more as a dialogue, at times responding to formal aspects of the paintings but at other times to the artists' working process or their ideas.
The result is a wide-ranging flow of musical spaces, from polyrhythmic grooves to spacious soundscapes, from delicate nuance to visceral, dense impact. A remarkable compositional achievement, Resonating Abstractions embodies AllAboutJazz critic Robert Bush's praise that "Dessen's music is so fresh and innovative that there are few precedents with which to compare it.... A stunning example of creative, adventurous music, utterly devoid of cliché, stretching even the frontiers of free jazz beyond recognition." "-Clean Feed
• Show Bio for Michael Dessen
Michael Dessen is a composer/trombonist who creates music for improvisers and explores the artistic potentials of technologies including live electronics, telematics and networked scores.
Dessen's electro-acoustic trio features bassist Christopher Tordini and drummer Dan Weiss, and has been praised by critics for its unique blend of otherworldly electronics, dynamic improvisation and wide-ranging compositions. His compositions for the trio have been supported by awards and commissions from New Music USA, Chamber Music America and the Fromm Foundation, and he has released three trio albums on Clean Feed Records, the first featuring Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Dessen's most recent work for the trio, Somewhere In The Upstream (2014), is a concert-length composition dedicated to Yusef Lateef that will be released in 2017.
Both with his own trio and many other collective projects, Dessen has focused on creating works for improvisers, including networked "scorestreams" that are displayed dynamically on screens for performers to interpret. As an improviser, he collaborates with diverse bands in addition to performing solo on digibone, an animistic world of slide trombone and live electronics. Dessen has also been involved in numerous telematic concerts that link performers in distant locations via high-definition networking technologies. He has composed new works specifically for the telematic stage, and has co-directed many large-scale telematic projects, including Virtual Tour 2013, a 3-concert series recently released on DVD that Dessen co-directed with Mark Dresser, featuring a core quartet in California with Nicole Mitchell and Myra Melford performing with other renowned musicians in Zurich, New York and Massachusetts.
Dessen's teachers include Yusef Lateef, George Lewis, and Anthony Davis, and he is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (BM performance), the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (MM jazz composition), and the University of California, San Diego (PhD in Music, Critical Studies and Experimental Practices). His writings on music include articles in The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation and Communities in Dialogue (Wesleyan University Press), the online journal Critical Studies in Improvisation / Etudes Critique en Improvisation, and Musicworks magazine, as well as a Preface to Yusef Lateef's Songbook. His publications have focused especially on the role of African American traditions within late-twentieth century experimental music worlds. Since 2006, Dessen has been a faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, where he co-founded a new PhD program in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology (ICIT).
Michael Dessen lives in southern California with visual artist Mariángeles Soto-Díaz and their son.-Michael Dessen Website (http://mdessen.com/)
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Shipping Weight: 2.00 units
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Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF 291
Squidco Product Code: 18600
Packaging: Cardstock gatefold foldover
Recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn on January 4, 2013. Mixed and mastered by Rich Breen.
Michael Dessen-trombone, electronics
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