Members of the much remembered classic quartet of Anthony Braxton and bandleaders in their own right, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway are the first names we consider when asked to mention the best improvisers on their respective instruments, the double bass and the drum kit. Extraordinarily gifted musicians, innovators of defining and expanding the meaning of contemporary jazz, and being of wholly creative minds, Dresser and Hemingway are always capable of surprising us. On “The Beautiful Enabler” these two veterans of creative music join forces with the younger, but equally notable, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa. His versatility and virtuosity combined with the depths of his multi-cultural roots (he was born in Italy to South Indian parents, raised in Colorado, educated in Boston and Chicago, now living in New York), justify his fame as a “rising star”. This CD is a fine example of empathy and group interaction, something only possible when the musicians involved are selflessly concerned with the musical results of the ensemble and not their own individual performances. While this is always considered to be the ultimate goal of jazz (which at its core defines itself as a collective music), it is generally not easily accomplished. How many times have great virtuosos been unsuccessful in creating a cohesive message with their musical partners in the ways displayed on this recording?
On this album, overcoming this ostensibly difficult task seems easy and natural, and this fact alone speaks volumes to the approach and outlook of this trio. In his liner notes, Dresser writes about “musical chemistry”, a notion that cannot simply be desired but perhaps can only arise under uniquely extraordinary circumstances. There is no recipe for this sense of gathering as its occurrence transcends skill and creativity and journeys into the realms of fraternity and humanity. It’s no wonder that the artists thought it was necessary to give this group a name of its own: Mauger is more than the combination of these three human beings; it's an entity in itself.