Tag Archives: Dan Weiss

Improjazz review by Luc Bouquet

Musica Jazz review by Civeli

MICHAEL DESSEN TRIO – Forget The Pixel (CF 222)
Un po’ come Steve Lehman, Vijay Iyer, Jason Robinson e il suo mentore George Lewis, Dessen ès os pesotra pratica concertis ti caericerca accademica (alcunisuoi scritti sono in mdessen.com/, sezionewriting), sufficientemente colto e preparato da evitare che la dimensione acustica confini quela elettronica a mero abbeli-mento o vice versa. Questo cd prosegue con coerenza il lavoro cominciato con «Between Shadow And Space». Al posto di Tyshawn Sorey c’è l’altrettanto valido (e richiestissimo) Weiss, ricercatore timbrico nei branipiùlenti. La musica, non dele più accessibili, contempla gorgogli elettronici, suoni dettagliatissimi e tensioni silenziose, dove tutti, specialmente un ispirato e determinante Tordini, danno il meglio di sé.Per visualizzare e ascoltare alcune porzioni del brano eponimo, figlio di una partitura chemischia semiografia contemporanea es egnal etiche ala Braxton, sicerchisu Youtube «Michael Dessen Trio Forget The Pixel Score/Excerpt».

The New York City Jazz Record by Stuart Broomer

Michael Dessen Trio – Forget the Pixel (CF 222)
Michael Dessen is a California-based trombonist, a former member of/composer for the memorable band Cosmologic and a frequent colleague of bassist Mark Dresser. At one time a student of George Lewis, Dessen appropriately combines brilliant trombone skills with interests in electronics and novel compositional strategies. His trio includes bassist Christopher Tordini and drummer Dan Weiss and he describes Forget the Pixel as an “hour-long cycle of music designed for this trio to perform in a single, continuous set. ”The end result is a remarkable achievement. If the timbral possibilities of a trombone-bass-drum band might seem limited, Dessen varies things with electronics and the trio maintains constant interest through a multi-leveled interaction of compositional methodologies, collective improvisation and polyrhythmic exploration. There are multiple senses of movement and development going on at once in this music, as it makes its way from the furious swing, jazzy bluster and electronics of the opening “Fossils and Flows” to the serene conclusion of “The Utopian Sense of Green”, in which the players summon up all the calm and grace of a Japanese garden. Along the way, the music repeatedly finds original dimensions, as in the elongated dialogue of “Three Sepals”, a piece that is born in Dessen’s sweetly traditional legato trombone then gradually opens into a field in which first Tordini, then the others seem to beetching the barest rhythmic and melodic materials on silence. A similarly broad canvas on the title track becomes a series of micro-explosions and dislocations: Dessen’s opening vocalic explosion gradually accumulates an electronic self-commentary; there are passages of pointillist scattershot bass and a long trio sequence in which Weiss’ snare drum seems to tie together the group’s multiple rhythms in a compact bundle. It’s fascinating work by an exceptional group of musicians, at times combining the cheery openness of song with a sense of underlying tectonic mystery.

San Diego Reader’s Best of 2011 list by Robert Bush

The International Top Ten Jazz Releases 2011
These are the ten best CDs to cross my path in 2011, regardless of geography. Some of them were recorded in New York, LA, and Portugal. Even still, the San Diego connection remains strong. Bert Turetzky, Mark Dresser, Peter Sprague and Geoffrey Keezer all released discs of global importance. Additionally, two musicians on this top-ten list spent years in San Diego: trombonists George Lewis and Michael Dessen. The final SD connection belongs to Jeff Kaiser, whose record label pfMENTUM is also represented.

1. Vinny Golia Octet Music For Baritone Saxophone ( NineWinds) Woodwind virtuoso Golia put together an adventurous and accessible recording with his stellar octet. Terrific arrangements and compositions and excellent solos from everyone, especially Golia’s monstrous “Tubax,” a refinement of the contrabass saxophone.
2. Bert Turetzky, George Lewis, Vinny Golia Triangulation II (Kadima Collective) No charts, no tunes, no discussions, just three of the world’s heaviest players improvising in the moment. Free jazz at its finest.
3. Michael Dessen Trio Forget The Pixel (Clean Feed)
Trombone / electronics master Dessen forges 21st century jazz with very few precedents. NYC compatriots Christopher Tordini’s bass and the multidirectional drums of Dan Weiss nail the constantly shifting metric landscapes of Dessen’s formidable compositions.
4. Bobby Bradford, Mark Dresser, Glenn Ferris Live In LA (Clean Feed)
Bradford has been a beacon for the free-improvising community in LA since the 1960s. This free-bop date sizzles from start to finish with elliptical, swinging solos and rock solid rhythms.

5. Dennis Gonzalez / Joao Paulo So Soft Yet (Clean Feed)
Dallas, Texas based trumpeter Gonzalez turns in an exquisite duet with pianist / accordion player Paulo. Extremely lyrical, the two men communicate on a deep level. Some of the pieces with electric piano hearken back to Miles Davis’ groundbreaking 1970s work. Sublime and surprising. Portuguese label Clean Feed is on this list multiple times for good reason.
6. Dick Wood Not Far From Here (pfMENTUM)
Another excellent example of where jazz might be heading in the 21st century, Woods combines Mark Trayle’s live electronics seamlessly into his core group of Hal Onserud on bass, Marty Mansour on percussion and Dan Clucas on trumpet. Wood takes elements of Ornette Coleman and John Zorn into his writing and improvising, and kicks ass throughout.
7. Trio M The Guest House (Enja)
Bay Area pianist Myra Melford, NYC drummer Matt Wilson and San Diego bassist Mark Dresser explore multiple improvising scenarios with compositions from each member. This collection ranges from the pensive to the furious.
8. Geoffrey Keezer / Peter Sprague Band Mill Creek Road (SBE Records) This disc represents yet another idea of where jazz music might be leaning in the future. Synthesizing elements from the bebop, world-music and free aesthetics, the influences of Chick Corea and Pat Metheny shine through in this album of wide variation and virtuosic execution.
9. Daniel Rosenboom Septet Fallen Angeles (Nine Winds)
Rosenboom’s tart, precise, clarion-call trumpet is joyously combined with the astringent alto saxophone of Gavin Templeton and the startling bass clarinet maneuvers of Brian Walsh in a frontline ably supported by David Rosenboom’s piano, Sam Minaie’s bass and Caleb Dolister’s drumming.
10. Vinny Golia Quartet Take Your Time (Relative Pitch)
Golia’s quartet combines long-time associates Bobby Bradford’s trumpet, Alex Cline’s drums and Ken Filiano’s bass in an ecstatic program of compositions that reference the work of Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman. Every solo tells a story in this wildly swinging collection.

JazzWord review by Ken Waxman

Michael Dessen Trio – Forget the Pixel (CF 222)
Joe Fiedler Trio – Sacred Chrome Orb (Yellow Sound Music)
Perhaps there’s more than a kernel of truth in those clichés about energetic New Yorkers and laid-back Californians. How else could one explain the massive variance between performances on these discs, each featuring a bassist, a drummer and a trombonist-leader playing original compositions by the brass man? In a way it’s a difference between lively and listless.

It’s not that Forget the Pixel is that enervated. It’s just that a certain sameness seems to permeate the seven compositions by trombonist Michael Dessen. Dessen, an academic with an interest in new technologies as well as telematic performances in multiple locations, adds computer wave forms to this disc in order to enhance the low-key proceedings. The results curve and undulate nicely, but not enough to alter the air of lethargic moderation that permeates the disc. Besides some rapid capillary movements from Dessen in the JJ Johnson lineage however, the most affecting overall performance is the title track. Here at least brushes-directed ruffs and bounces, spelled with an occasional martial beat, from drummer Dan Weiss, coupled with speedy stops as well as sul ponticello slides from bassist Christopher Tordini provide back-up for the trombonist’s slurs, puffs and squeezes.

Weiss, who has worked with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, and the bassist, who has played with saxophonist Greg Osby, have established their dependability in the past. Meanwhile Dessen, who has been part of the West Coast-based Cosmological band with saxophonist Jason Robinson and others, has similarly demonstrated his musical skills elsewhere. Maybe a concentration on performances over the internet with players in different locations has dulled his live presentation.

Moving eastward, there’s certainly no hesitation on Sacred Chrome Orb as the trio handles 15 compositions by trombonist Joe Fiedler. An adaptor of the multiphonics pioneered by German trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, Fiedler has worked in the bands of multi-reedist Anthony Braxton, pianist Satoko Fujii and even pop star Jennifer Lopez. The third CD by this trio, the band is filled out by bassist John Hébert, who has worked with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum; and drummer Michael Sarin, first call percussionist for bands ranging from those led by bassist Mark Helias’ to saxophonist Tim Berne.

Throughout Sarin’s percussion smarts allow him to vary his beat so that at points it sounds as if he’s whopping a conga drum and elsewhere as if he playing patterns on a dumbek. The later is especially apparent on “Ethiopia”, influenced by pop singer from that African country, which is also enlivened with the drummer’s tick-tock rim shot and cymbal colors, as the trombonist blasts out tremolo grace notes and blurry cross tones.

Hébert shows out his guitar-like facility on “Next Phase” accompanying a guttural, double-tongued line from Fiedler. Meanwhile “Two Kooks” demonstrates how extended brass techniques including splintered and splayed slide positions and decorated grace notes can swing alongside a heavy backbeat. The thematic line is extended still further by Fiedler on “Chicken”, with rubato slurs and triple-tongued fluttering shading the lively performance. As Sarin clip-clops and rebounds, and Hébert holds down the rhythmic bottom, the trombonist elongates and shortens his breaths for melodic invention.

One would figure in different circumstances – was there a jet-lag drawback in this Lisbon-recorded disc for instance? – that Dessen’s three would put in a less time-marking performance. As these CDs stack up though, the session from the Easterners is definitely more appealing than the one from the West Coasters.

Downbeat review by Bill Meyer

Michael Dessen trio – Forget the Pixel (CF 222)
Trombonists were jazz’s original electronicists. While they’ve shared the responsibility for creating sound effects with trumpeters—the Duke Ellington Orchestra had Bubber Miley as well as Tricky Sam Nanton—what acoustic instrument better provides volume, brightness, malleability and purely sensual sound? George Lewis has played slide trombone and electronics with equal facility, and his former student Michael Dessen makes the two instruments work as one on Forget The Pixel. Dessen switches between voluptuous lyricism and digitally distorted splatter, and his shifts between those poles never feel forced or arbitrary. This is the trio’s second album, and it sounds like the work of a gigging band. How much of this work took place with all three men in the same room is open to conjecture. Dessen lives and teaches in Irvine, Calif., a continent away from his New York-based confederates, but he is a pioneer in telematics, the practice of long-distance, real-time collaboration. But whether their chemistry was forged with the assistance of bandwidth or frequent flyer miles, it’s real. You can hear it in the way Christopher Tordini’s figures sway and give under the influence of Dan Weiss’s martial snare beats on “Licensed Unoperators (For Lisle).” It’s also evident on “Herdiphany,” where they supply stop-start responses to the pitch-shifted squiggles that Dessen pokes their way like some cartoon rabbit sticking out his impossibly elongated tongue at hunters who are both his dogged nemeses and closest associates. These guys don’t just play together—they’re playing. This playfulness, as much as their fluid negotiations of Dessen’s jagged rhythms and elaborate melodies, is the spoonful of sugar that make these rigorous improvisations go down easy.

All About Jazz Italy review by Vincenzo Roggero

Michael Dessen Trio – Forget the Pixel (CF 222)
Valutazione: 3.5 stelle

I brani sono sette ma l’ora di musica contenuta in Forget the Pixel (bel titolo preso dalla prima riga del poema di Phillis Levin “Open Field”) può essere vista come un’unica suite, concepita già all’origine per una esibizione senza interruzioni del trio. Il trio, per l’appunto, ma dovremmo parlare di quartetto perché l’elettronica utilizzata dal leader, il trombonista Michael Dessen, è a tutti gli effetti il quarto strumento utilizzato per la registrazione.
Già da diversi anni studioso degli sviluppi nell’uso di computer, live processing e sampling come pratica improvvisativa e soprattutto di sue possibili formalizzazioni in modelli, Dessen utilizza l’elettronica non in senso coloristico ma come paritario interlocutore delle libere improvvisazioni. Così che, anche la sua assenza o i momenti di minimo utilizzo, incidono profondamente sulla registrazione che è una sorta di manuale non scritto sull’interazione tra scrittura e improvvisazione.

Vi è inoltre un lavoro sulle scomposizioni ritmiche, sullo sviluppo di cellule melodiche e su di una concezione avventurosa della fluidità espressiva che risulta notevole anche grazie all’apporto di due grandi musicisti come il percussionista Dan Weiss (assai noto anche dalle nostre parti) e il contrabbassista Chris Tordini (meno noto ma altrettanto rimarchevole). L’approccio strumentale e improvvisativo di Dessen è molto personale, ricorda alcune cose sperimentali di George Lewis con una maggior propensione ad inglobare elementi di musica colta europea e contemporanea.

Complessivamente Forget the Pixel, nonostante qualche momento un po’ dispersivo, è un ottimo esempio di musica avventurosa e pienamente accessibile.