Nourishments (Clean Feed; 2013)
Rudresh Mahanthappa (sax)
Michael Dessen (trombone)
Denman Maroney (hyper-piano)
Michael Sarin (drums)
Tom Rainey (drums)
Mark Dresser is one the few distinctive bassist on the scene that continues to impress with complex arrangements that challenge convention. His latest outing as leader, Nourishments, Dresser demonstrates a solid and bold approach with both his playing and compositions. Allowing the quintet to mix things up yet follow a rough set of parameters with beautiful results.
"Not Withstanding" jumps out like a delightful and fierce piece that could have been written by Zorn's Masada. It's filled with both improvised accompaniments and stoic solos. All shifting back and forth through various counterpoints making for an intense and fun listen. "Para Waltz," a wonderful ballad that starts off solemn and quaint thanks to Maroney and slowly builds in stature. Mahanthappa's horn sounds big yet very romantic pared against Dresser understated touches during this piece.
The harmonic structure of "Rasaman" is highlighted by the always immepecable Michael Dessen and his early exchanges with Mahanthappa. Another lovely and romantic number that feels more like a journey than just a musical number.
Mark Dresser has put together a tightly woven document with Nourishments. An exemplary piece which is also filled with improvisations that while challenging are also very inviting. Nourishments is a superb album that delivers on every construct and theme which should give every listener something to think about after the first spin.