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  Наименование CD :
   Nine Songs Together

Год издания : 2003

Компания звукозаписи : CIMP, (wb)

Музыкальный стиль : Free Improvisation, Modern Creative

Время звучания : 1:09:29

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Jazz (Free - Improvisation)      

Recorded at The Spirit Room, Rossie, NY, September 25 & 26, 2003.

Spirit Room Series Vol. 174

Although this is billed as a duo album with Mark Dresser's name listed first, Ray Anderson's trombone is the dominant voice. Anderson is one of the few trombonists who can sustain interest for a full hour, with ideas tumbling from his horn like soap bubbles from a blower. Here he is highly exposed, forced to turn inward to experiment with sounds and techniques that exploit his unique style. Anderson devotees will not be disappointed, as his usual swagger and box of tricks are in full bloom; however, they are tempered by the pull of Mark Dresser's acoustic bass, which grounds Anderson, tying him to a structure yet permitting him to soar as if he were a bird in flight. The pull of the spiritual is heard throughout, often with an insistent blues element, as exemplified explicitly on Billy Taylor's "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" and Anderson's own "The Feast of Love," part of a larger work for trombone choir and gospel choir with lyrics contributed by his recently departed wife. Some might hear a more subdued and more mature Anderson than usual, as each track is no longer an opportunity, as was sometimes the case in his early years, to cram everything he can do in every improvisation. Many of the pieces, such as the serious and utterly remarkable "Taps for Jackie" (dedicated to his wife), are performed at tempos much slower than usual, and the trombonist carefully fills in the cracks and defers appropriately to Dresser, who waxes gorgeously. This is an important project for the talented Anderson, not only because it is his first recording on CD as part of a duo, but also because it shows a sophistication and evolutionary development that take him a step further than anything previously. While his trademark trills and intervallic leaps are evident, he also explores crevices that he had not always considered, in part due to the inspiration and prodding of Dresser. The best duo performances require close, even empathetic, listening between participants to avoid the sense of two performers going separate directions. The trombonist and bassist listen to each other with uncanny concentration, and although most of the pieces are not formally connected, there is a sense that they share a common thrust.

All Music Guide


Despite a long association, bassist Mark Dresser and trombonist Ray Anderson make an unusual pair. The quintessentially New York Dresser is known for his deep, soul-stirring improvisations (his suite The Five Outer Planets here hints at his enormity of scale); Anderson, despite being born in Chicago and an early tenure in Anthony Braxton's quartet, is more a southern boy with a love for New Orleans jazz. The pair began playing as a duo nearly thirty years ago, however, and Dresser appears on four of Anderson's previous recordings. Nine Songs Together is their first disc of duets, and it finds them able to share a wide terrain of material and some themes laden enough with emotion that only a long-standing partnership such as theirs could save it from becoming maudlin on the one hand or sloppy on the other.

The disc was recorded on Dresser's 51st birthday (in September of last year) and marked Anderson's first session since the death of his wife of 22 years, dancer and poet Jackie Raven, in 2002. Furthering the emotive import, there are tracks dedicated both to Raven and to Anderson's new fianc? There was, no doubt, a lot on the players minds during the sessions.

As a result, the nine songs truly are together. Four of the pieces are penned by Dresser and three by Anderson (with their arrangements of I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free and Im Confessin That I Love You rounding out the set). But selective tracking could have convinced you that there were at least twice as many songs on the program. The pair move seamlessly between resonant explorations and swinging jaunts, often within the same piece, and it's a joy to hear each move into the territory more associated with the other. Anderson sputters, accentuates and holds low tones through the thicker passages, and Dresser's familiar slapping, strumming and register-hopping provides a sweet, unusual setting for Anderson's Dixie hops. A slide trombone and a contrabass hold the potential of being as slippery as an oiled-down willow tree, but they play simply and solidly. If there were a canon of trombone/bass duos, they would surely rank among the best. The fact that there isn't, yet Dresser and Anderson sound so natural doing it, speaks volumes.

-Kurt Gottschalk


Duets in improvised music are a risky venture. On the one hand, they have much of the immediacy and freedom of playing unaccompanied but with the x-factor that can only come from another musician. The best improvised duets have a cohesiveness that is simply impossible in larger groups while still remaining unpredictable and fresh. Conversely, less successful duets (and there are many) exhaust their resources too quickly or fail to sound complete, as though other musicians belonged in the group. Certainly the duet is among the most challenging formats for an improviser, second perhaps only to playing completely unaccompanied.

A trombone-bass duet is especially dangerous, as neither instrument traditionally fills the kind of space a guitar, piano, or drums would. Fortunately in this case, the two musicians involved couldn't be improved upon. Both Anderson and Dresser are true virtuosos, stretching their instruments well beyond their conventional roles. Dresser, especially, is that rare bass player who is as distinctive as any horn player. They are also among the most versatile of contemporary improvisers; both can play straightahead jazz and both spent time interpreting Anthony Braxton's highly demanding compositions, Dresser in the quartet that some listeners, myself included, believe ranks as one of the finest in the history of this music. Finally, both have played with a staggering number of leading improvisers, yet their careers are distinguished less by sheer number of appearances than by the consistent depth of their contributions. In other words, if you have doubts about an album of trombone-bass duets, rest assured that Anderson and Dresser are the men for the job.

In lieu of the kind of spacious, texture-oriented free duets that have been particularly common in Europe of late, Anderson and Dresser organize this album around a series of fairly accessible compositions. I was immediately reminded of two things as I listened to the opening "One Plate." First, Anderson and Dresser have truly spectacular control of their instruments. Secondly, their musicality is the equal of their technique. Listening to the duo begin a meditative ostinato, I was as moved by its eerie beauty as I was stunned by Dresser's incredibly rich arco chords and harmonics or Anderson's seemingly effortless upper register circular breathing. The piece moves into a child-like swing, showing that the duo's range is emotional as well as technical.

Billy Taylor's "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" is given a rubato spiritual treatment, with Anderson alternating trumpet-like fanfares with folk-like melodic figures. Dresser, meanwhile, bows mesmerizing harmonics.

Dresser's bass sounds appropriately alien on the five-part "The Five Outer Planets," producing shimmering overtones that sound electronically altered but almost certainly aren't, while "Ekoneni," which draws heavily on African music, shows that the duo can nail down a groove as well as they can probe the outer fringes of free music.

An album highlight for me is Anderson's "Taps for Jackie," a heartbreaking ballad that features a stunning bowed solo from Dresser that moves into violin range. Anderson's breathless unaccompanied feature becomes heated and raw as he frantically works his way around the trombone's range.

Incidentally, most listeners are probably acquainted by now with CIMP's characteristically no-frills recorded sound and either love it or hate it. This duo, however, comes across magnificently, with every subtle nuance captured vividly. If you're not a CIMP fan, don't let that dissuade you from picking up this recording.

It would be impossible for me to name all of the remarkable things that Dresser and Anderson do on this album. Suffice it to say that I, a longtime fan of both men, was pleasantly surprised. If anyone has the chops and musicianship to pull this kind of thing off, it's Ray Anderson and Mark Dresser.

-David Vance


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Наименование трека



   1 One Plate         0:13:28 Dresser
   2 I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free         0:07:58 Lamb, Taylor
   3 Ekoneni         0:03:50 Dresser
   4 Taps For Jackie         0:10:57 Anderson
   5 Slipinstyle         0:06:06 Dresser
   6 1. Jupiter         0:02:05 -"-
   7 2. Saturn         0:01:00 -"-
   8 3. Uranus         0:02:13 -"-
   9 4. Neptune         0:02:16 -"-
   10 5. Pluto     T       0:02:29 -"-
   11 The Feast Of Love         0:06:15 Anderson
   12 Insistent         0:04:32 -"-
   13 I'm Confessin' That I Love You         0:06:19 Dougherty, Neiberg, Reynolds


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