The Mark Dresser Seven has now made two excellent records. The first was Sedimental You, in 2016, also on Clean Feed. A septet is a nice size for a band, big enough for scale, small enough for agility. The Dresser Seven includes several respected members of what might be called the refined avant-garde: Dresser (bass); Marty Ehrlich (reeds); Nicole Mitchell (flutes); Jim Black (drums). The others are less familiar names (for now): Joshua White (piano); Michael Dessen (trombone); Keir GoGwilt (violin).
The new album has six new Dresser compositions, all with unusual asymmetrical shapes and highly provisional rhythmic infrastructures. Dresser leverages the resources of his compact orchestra to create intriguing blends, all of which approach, but stop short of, stridency and cacophony. When solos come, they are variously compelling. Mitchell and Ehrlich are voices of reason within Dresser’s unstable forms. White, an exciting emerging player, operates closer to the edge and sometimes spills over.