Michael Dessen Lineal

Trombonist Michael Dessen plays with a warmth and rhythmic bite that recalls Ray Anderson and George Lewis, though he’s less interested in rubber faced expressionism than either of those players. His solos are a series of quizzically repeated melodic knots that sometimes snap back in your face like rubber bands; his compositions often feature hip-hop-flavoured, odd-meter grooves in the tradition of Steve Coleman (one of the trombonist’s touchstones). Dessen’s debut boasts a terrific but unexpected cast of players. It’s a treat to hear pianist Vijay Iyer working in a more open-ended style than usual, and he’s got excellent company in the form of bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Susie Ibarra. Other tracks feature the less stellar but equally fine rhythm section of Jorge Roeder and Bob Weiner, and there’s also a scorching cameo by violinist Terry Jenoure. Whatever the exact combination of players, the results are some terrific music, mostly hard-hitting and groove-based but quite varied nonetheless. In fact, the standout moment is Dessen and Dresser’s duet "Something Singular,” a quiet ballad working in the shadow cast by Dolphy’s "Something Sweet, Something Tender.” (Circumvention)