Responsiveness is a pivotal constituent to face the asymmetries of multiform music. At the same time, it is also a requirement for a listener attempting to dissect the structure of an album showcasing the intertwined endowments of sentient players. Still, the risk for a performing composer is high. Apotheosizing the technical facets can easily turn into a boomerang annihilating the spiritual purity; surrendering to overflowing sentiment is a no-no, sincerely heartfelt homages included. A sardonic posture doesn’t necessarily work, either, unless you’re named Frank Zappa. And even in that case there will always be someone who doesn’t get it.
So, in the thick forest of modern jazz the discerning witness contemplates Mark Dresser’s tall tree, its trunk showing the concentric rings of a multitude of experiences: avant/free to remodeled tradition, plus countless projects in between. In Sedimental You the leader’s hand (and arco) are firm and utterly distinguishable; yet the solemn elasticity of the interplay is principally deriving from the impressive level of intuitive acumen shown by the septet as a whole. We’re talking of musicians able to seize and handle the unforeseeable amidst the written parts; to blotch contrapuntal exactitude with productive impulsiveness; to obey to the score’s indications without making them appear as an obsession by the creator. Each instrumentalist corresponds to a series of previously chosen details; together they can depict entire scenes with a modicum of strokes, a healthy passion nourishing a tense lucidity. Classy assertiveness minus the arrogance, amazing ears listening into the textural agglomerations, exquisite melodic nuggets distilled from harmonic stratifications and rhythmic riddles.
Speaking of favorites (as laughable as this may be) many people – such as yours truly – could reserve a soft spot for the genuinely touching “Will Well (For Roswell Rudd)”, a piece defined by a peculiarly “minimalist” melancholy emphasized by Joshua White’s reiterative piano chords. Should you have friends declaring their expertise on intersecting pulses, treat them with “Hobby Lobby Horse”: a veritable heaven for the few certified spastic dancers left among us. However, this writer is not a fan of pointless lists and reshuffled press releases. Just check who’s featured in this record; respect Dresser’s deserved reputation; and, finally, spin the damn thing for days to exchange personal chaos and saturation from blather with a finely regulated wordless microcosm.