|Bass explorations, investigations and explanations. Contains a CD of solo bass improvisations, compositions and interpretations (48:57) as well as a DVD with a demonstration of Mark Dresser's use of extended techniques with downloadable PDF files of notated reference charts, musical excerpts and concert pieces.
Mark Dresser discusses improvisation, composition, and developing a personal sound. A conversation between Pulitzer Prize winning composer Roger Reynolds and Mark Dresser on their collaboration.(2 hours 28 minutes).
Free Jazz Blog: When I introduced myself to Mark Dresser after a
concert, he said "So, you're the guy who always writes negative
reviews", and that was the end of the conversation. Until earlier today he
was of course totally wrong, but now he's suddenly right, but not because of
this new CD and DVD he released.
If you ever buy this album, listen to the CD first. And listen in wonder.
Then watch the DVD. On it, there is an interview with his colleague college
professor Roger Reynolds, and an interview with Dresser himself about music,
interplay, spontaneous creation, context and control, the use of eletronics,
and many more topics. Lots of interesting stuff. But the real treat, for
bass-players and non-bass players is the following hour of Dresser's
explanation and demonstration of the tricks of his trade. This is very rare and
You get information on two-handed pizzicato, on falsetto flautando, on bitones
and artificial harmonics, lots on partials, on bowing techniques, on
multiphonics, just all these great sounds you often hear without actually
knowing how they're created. This is stuff that you hear at a Dresser concert,
but actually never manage to notice because of the distance or the speed. But
he is a great teacher: his explanations are precise - though read - and his
demonstrations are easy to follow and understand. To the non-bass player that I
am, it was all very enlightening, and I hope it will too for those of you
playing the instrument.
Then listen to the CD on which all these techniques are put into practice, not
for demonstration purposes but to make music with. True, the CD will keep its
didactic nature (it kind of lingers on in the brain), but then the sounds and
the music he displays here are absolutely fabulous, from the gut-wrenching
Hendrix-like tones on "Innard Pulse", on which sliding near unisons
break up into sliding descending gestures returning to bitones, over the weird
sonic environment of "Demus", which starts intimately yet gradually
destabilises the listener with haunting urgency, to the more common sounds of
the bass played pizzi on "Duohandum", but then played with both hands
plucking the strings and playing the notes, giving the impression of two basses
playing simultaneously, or the magnificent "imagE/contrabass" on which
his subtle arco tones will move you to tears.
The CD could stand on its own. The upside of the whole is also its downside.
When listening to the CD, you cannot but think back about the wealth of
demonstrated techniques, wondering which one is being used, and that's
detracting the listener's attention - or at least mine - from some great
solo bass. So you should keep listening to it again and again, till the only
thing you hear is the music.