He will manipulate your listening with evocative overtones and percussive beats and research unfathomable, sympathetic multiphonics and reverberations

Pyroclastic Records CD PR25

Mark Dresser – 4 and 5-string solo double bass

Recorded at University of California, San Diego, USA, July 21 2019 and November 13-14 2022

Mark Dresser is an American double bass player and composer who says of his instrument ‘I think of the bass as an orchestra’. He has been a member of Black Music Infinity and has played with the San Diego Symphony, then moved to New York and the Anthony Braxton quartet, a significant development for him as the other two making up the quartet were the notable Marilyn Crispell and Gerry Hemingway.

He stayed for nearly ten years and of course formed associations with other Avant-garde and experimental musicians like Tim Berne, Myra Melford and Henry Threadgill.  Mark is internationally acclaimed as a bass player, composer and improviser; more recently he has been recognised as a collaborator across disciplines.

This related to his work in the arena of telematic performance, exploring musical, social and technical aspects of live performance between multiple locations, using high-speed Internet connections.  There was a lot of global involvement with this during ‘lock-down’.

Through all of this he pursues his music relentlessly and is documented in more than a hundred recordings with the likes of such dissimilar artists as Anthony Davis, Dave Douglas, Satoko Fujii and John Zorn.

Central to his work is his obligation to extending the sonic reach of the bass and the aura which it may encompass.  In this he has been working on eccentric amplification and unusual techniques.  Some of the results of this work may be heard in Tines of Change as Mark introduces custom-designed 4- and 5-string basses with pickups buried in the fingerboard.

Working in partnership with other artists is fundamental to his artistic leanings and he composes, performs, records, and tours with the collective, Trio M, featuring pianist Myra Melford and drummer Matt Wilson. He works too with Trio Mauger with the young and inspired alto saxophonist, Rudresh Mahanthappa and veteran drummer Gerry Hemingway.

Together they recorded the 2008 CD The Beautiful Enabler (Clean Feed Records).  Another active, cooperative trio that performs solely improvised music is Jones Jones.  The trio includes the Russian percussionist Vladimir Tarasov and the prodigious Larry Ochs from the saxophone quartet Rova, playing tenor and sopranino saxes.  He is also a composer of structured improvisations.

Here on his unconventional four and five-string basses, Dresser discovers a dozen new pieces, exploring possibilities through a secondary bridge with tines affixed, that may be bowed or plucked like strings. This and other methods allow a musician to generate a variety of sounds of ethereal to the percussive timbre.

Given the experimental leanings of Mark Dresser, many of his experiments may produce soft, mysterious, flute-like sounds or generate shadowy, polyphonic dialogues with himself.

He will manipulate your listening with evocative overtones and percussive beats and research unfathomable, sympathetic multiphonics and reverberations.  Don’t say you haven’t been warned!