Michael Dessen Trio: Forget The Pixel (CF 222)
This jazz trio, manned by Southern California-based slide trombonist Michael Dessen, sports a full-sized sound and abides by a rather springy group-centric mode of attack. Dessen’s solo work, co-leader outings, and stints with major progressive-jazz artists complement his educational duties at the University of California, Irvine.
The trombonist parlays a worldly and comprehensive stance on Forget The Pixel, where the musicians share equal footing amid rousing passages, bustling rhythms, and the leader’s bizarre, yet sagacious electronics overlays. The trio adds a multidimensional outlook via ethereal and penetrating segments, in concert with a few spacey interludes that prompt semblances of an intergalactic abyss.
Dessen’s expansive improvisational angles are woven into the structured mechanisms. On “Three Sepals,” the artists fuse subliminal aspects with introspective dialogues, honed down by bassist Christopher Tordini’s entrancing solo. Here, and in other regions of sound, the trio either ups the ante or delves into free-form microtonal episodes, underscored by edgy minimalism.
Dessen’s use of electronics offers a bizarre perspective and acts as the lead voice on the asymmetrical piece “Herdiphany.” But the group often roughs it up and embarks on offbeat treks, seeded with depth and effective use of space. The musicians travel to a numbing dreamscape, and catapult into a brazen succession of exchanges.
Michael Dessen Trio spawns a polytonal and radiant architecture, enraptured by a sense of fractured realism. The leader’s laudable technical faculties and keen imaginative powers are attributes that contribute to the persuasiveness of this multi-tiered program.