Friday, July 10, 2009

Bass Players (What I know) Part 2

More on the Bass player update today, and I will work on upgrading the last post as well.

Trevor Dunn

This is a bassist I have been checking out more seriously in the past few years. He's a killing electric bass player, coming from the band Mr. Bungle, a band whose first record was produced by John Zorn, featuring the vocals of Mike Patton. His electric bass has landed him maybe recording sessions with Zorn, as well as his tight focused double bass sound on film works of Zorn, and his own projects On electric bass he is the mainstay bassist for the John Zorn group Electric Masada, and has performed cobra on the same instrument. A newer version of Naked City (oversimplification) is the Astronome/Moonchild group that is Mike Patton, Dunn, and Joey Baron, less of the five second quick cuts and more longer duration esoteric metal compositions. I have fortunate enough to see him in a version of Masada, but with him subbing for Greg Cohen, and Ben Perowsky for Joey Baron...still a crazy group! Also, thanks to Chris Speed's label Skirl, I saw a record party where he played prepared bass duets with harpist Shelley Burgon. Trevor Dunn has a quartet that I REALLY want to hear titled the "Proofreaders," a quartet that plays all Ornette Coleman compositions, and is named after one of the tracks on the Ornette Atlantic boxed set. His own Trio Convulsant is a great trio with Ches Smith and Mary Halvorson, featuring Dunn's arrangements and compositions. He has a great arrangement of "Single Petal of a Rose" by Duke Ellington, that I will be stealing some ideas from for a recital later this year, combining Shelley Burgon's harp to the trio. I was inspired to check out his website, and see how much he helps others in answering his questions over the years, which you can find here. There's also some wonderfully abstract short videos on the site, and eerie Hunter S. Thompson-esque music. I still have yet to hear another trio he is in with Erik Friedlander titled the "Broken Arm trio" with Michael Sarin, and Friedlander playing pizz cello...soon though, so much to still check out and give a listen to! I forgot to mention, Trevor Dunn is also the resident bass player seemingly on Skirl records, recording on both New Mellow Edwards albums, his own Baltimore duo, Andrew D'angelo's Skadra Degis (or Gay Disco trio), and is slated for more on the way! Trevor Dunn with Zorn's Cobra here, and with Moonchild, Tribute to Andew D'Angelo here, and an early video with Dunn playing a Tim Berne composition here.

Mark Dresser

Mark Dresser is still a bassist that blows my mind, and yet I feel like I haven't heard enough of him. Recently I heard a free improvisation record of Ellery Eskelin called "Vanishing Points" with Matt Moran on vibes, and Friedlander on cello that he was killing on. There are some early Dave Douglas string ensemble records with him, as well as the Arcana String Trio. Mark Dresser studied with contemporary bass legend Bertram Turetsky, Italian virtuoso Franco Petracchi as well as Ray Brown. I haven't heard the Italian bassist, but I think he brings the pizzacato sound of Ray Brown and the extending techniques of the others, along with complete precision in sound, to every situation. He has recorded on several Tim Berne records, a favorite of mine being "Sanctified Dreams." He was also Anthony Braxton's bass player during the 1980s with, again in my opinion, one of the top Braxton groups, with Marilyn Crispell on piano and Gerry Hemingway on drums. This group just kept help expand Braxton's language, and brought it to a new level of composition/improvisation...a sound to behold! Here's a video of Dresser playing with ethnomusicologist, avantgardist great Roswell Rudd in a duo. There is a pretty wild record with Denman Maroney, where Dresser really shines, and Maroney's inside the piano work is a really unique soundscape in it, titled "Force Green."
With trumpeter Edwin Harkins here, and with Lawrence Ochs and Vladimir Tarasov here.

That does it for now, Hopefully I'll have some Michael Formanek and Skuli Sversson reviews soon, and try to update these posts to include some more video links... Give me some time and you'll be be in bass heaven!!!

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