Forget the Pixel
Though outside the New York spotlight, California-based trombonist Michael Dessen has crafted a unique body of music, garnering a steady stream of acclaim for his work as a leader and for his collaborations with some of the best musicians on the scene today. Critics praised his previous trio release on Clean Feed for its compositional range, creative use of electronics, and above all the musicians’ extraordinary playing. Instead of rushing out a follow-up, Dessen spent two years simmering new music, letting the materials mature organically, and the result is worth the wait: Forget The Pixel, a cycle of seven diverse pieces, integrates an astonishing array of grooves, colors and textures, grounded by intricate compositional details and adventurous improvisations. With Dessen on trombone and laptop joined by drummer Dan Weiss and bassist Chris Tordini, the trio revels in vibrant lines, but can also spin fascinating landscapes out of microscopic details, bringing different types of temporal flow into a rich conversation. Weiss, acclaimed for his own groups as well as his sideman work with musicians like Rudresh Mahanthappa and Dave Binney, cracks open Dessen’s compositions with his phenomenal rhythmic fluency and imagination as well as an acute sense of color. Tordini, also an important contributor to emerging NY scenes as well a sideman to masters like Greg Osby, grounds the music with his rich sound and his patient, compositional touch. Finding the threads between raucous play and delicate abstractions, Forget the Pixel is an absorbing journey not to be missed.