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Mark Dresser and Denman Maroney: Time Changes

While Mark Dresser is best known as one of avant-garde jazz’s leading bassists (he was a long-standing member of the Marilyn Crispell-era Anthony Braxton Quartet), pianist Denman Maroney is known primarily (on recordings, anyway) as one of Dresser’s most faithful collaborators. It’s a great matchup: Both Dresser (whose firm, dark-hued, robust tone is marvelously Mingus-y at times) and Maroney-credited with “hyperpiano,” as his keyboard’s innards are altered a la John Cage and Henry Cowell’s prepared pianos-employ extended techniques, stretching and expanding beyond what’s typically thought to be their instruments’ ranges.

Fortunately, both draw upon these methods to serve the music, not to merely explore-for-the-sake-of-exploration-note the delicately dramatic guitar- and cello-like sonorities and jungle of percussive tones of “One Plate.” Time Changes features an enigmatic mix of reflective lyricism, edgy improv and wry swing. Maroney’s soloing throughout “M.C.” smacks of ’60s-era Vince Guaraldi in its joyful directness and Horace Silver in its earthy, graceful groove. The duo is frequently joined by the elegant, wordless mezzo-soprano of Alexandra Montano and the subtle, judicious drumming of Michael Sarin, who shines on the harrowingly taut, almost cinematic “Lateral Mass.” It’s strangely wonderful stuff.

Originally Published