Mark Dresser Quintet – Nourishments (CF 279)
I have spent several consecutive days with Nourishments. Listened to it in every possible situation. Appreciated each nuance of its palette. But remained – for a long time – at a loss for words when facing the task of writing about it. Perhaps because this is a classic case of music whose eloquent communicativeness speaks for itself, who knows. These 73 minutes have become a rewarding acoustic proximity in a peculiar phase of my life, transmitting a message where everything one needs to discover is right there. No extreme searching required.
In the liners, Dresser quotes the influence of Charlie Mingus on the work’s conception before proceeding to explicate very accurately the collations and superimpositions of themes, meters and contrapuntal constituents. The composer’s analytic explanations are just substantiating snippets of what the ears already perceive as perfectly shaped phenomena. To begin with, rarely you will find yourselves in the condition of “remembering” a melody, for the multitude of fragments and sketches is on such a level of intelligible intertwining that a coherent wholeness gets easily acquired as a “general concept” while the alert mind scrutinizes the courses of the single instruments at the same time. This sensation of operational simultaneousness is the truly sweet trait here, dynamism and reflection running collaterally yet marvelously coalescing. Personal favorites in that regard are the title track and the superbly executed “Canales Rose” and “Rasaman”.
Special mention must be made of Maroney’s hyper-piano, its metallic slippery providing various incidents with a refreshing awareness of proportionate instability, whereas Mahanthappa’s ridiculous reed chops define recurrent flights of fancy across paths of transparent logicality. All the participants deserve applause for their ability in merging humanness and clarity, idealism and mathematical discipline. And, of course, Dresser’s control of the affecting howls generated by his bowed partials is nothing short of staggering. The enlightened leader of a collective of investigators gifted with bright intuitions and sense of belonging to a project that wrestles the commonplaces of jazz in spite of an indiscussable technical prominence.