Blogarrhea: Mark Dresser, Marcello Pellitteri, Lisa Hilton, Adam Karch and Matty T. Wall are People to Know in 2017

By Mike Greenblatt on Dec 31, 2016 12:14 PM EST
Mark Dresser Bassist Mark Dresser (Photo : Peter Gannushkin)

That's no spelling mistake on the title of the Mark Dresser Seven's seven-track new Sedimental You (Clean Feed). Although the title tune is, indeed, taken from Tommy Dorsey's 1932 "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," Dresser is hardly sentimental. He's talking sediment here. Like rocks, man. Yet there's no rock here. Go figure. Opener "Hobby Lobby Horse" is a groove. "Will Well" is for Roswell Rudd, a seminal influence, despite the fact that Dresser is a bassist/composer and Rudd is a trombone man. It's a tender piece, filled with Nicole Mitchell's heavenly alto flute and Marty Ehrlich's bass clarinet. Dresser says, "it's an incantation." "I Can Smell You Listening" is for the mezzo-soprano Alexandria Montano [1961-2007] wherein Ehrlich switches to clarinet. "Newtown Char" is an elegiac response to the Connecticut abomination where kindergarten kids were killed. "Two Handfuls of Peace" is for sax man Daniel Jackson [1937-2014].

With Michael Dessen on trombone, Joshua White on piano, Jim Black on drums and David Morales Boroff on violin, Dresser can mix'n'match colors for maximum effect. He worked with Black in tours of Japan with pianist Sakoto Fujii. Born in Los Angeles, Dresser studied in Italy, and moved to New York to accept an invitation to be in the band of multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton where he settled in nicely for the better part of a decade. He now resides in San Diego where he teaches at the University of California.

The Aquarius Woman painted on the cover of drummer/composer/arranger Marcello Pellitteri's new Marpel Music CD is his daughter Veronica who died in 2014. "Twenty Three" is a gorgeous 5:11 (the age she passed). It's 23 bars long with a 23-note melody. Pellitteri's grief has manifested itself into this 13-track memorial which even includes his late daughter's spoken words on the title track reciting a 1960s poem by Murtiningrum, a poet who was arrested and abused by Indonesian authorities. Since "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys and "Ribbon In The Sky" by Stevie Wonder were his daughter's favorite songs, they're both covered.

A longtime professor at Berklee in Boston, Pellitteri emigrated to the U.S. from his native Italy in '81. His core quartet consists of Italian musicians who are all leaders in their native country. Guests include a French harmonica player, a Panamanian vocalist, an American saxophonist and an electric guitarist from Italy, Marcello Todaro, who ends the proceedings reciting his own poem, "Luce Strana," to the tune of the leader's "Strange Light." Highlight: the post-bop "Saxando." This is no maudlin affair. The compositions, arrangements, production and chops are all of the highest order.

Lisa Hilton inverts the title of a 1932 Cole Porter tune as the Day & Night title of her own 49-minute, 10-track solo piano CD (Ruby Slippers Productions) wherein she goes classical to infuse her jazz with elements of blues, the avant-garde, impressionism and, most importantly, The Three M's: minimalism, modalism and modernism. The only Porter she actually interprets is his 1935 "Begin The Beguine." The rest is all her. "Caffeinated Culture" is cluttered with samba notes so quick and so nice. She likes to spread the wealth of her influences from the simplistic one-note three times fast like Count Basie or the meanderings of the complex jazzer Horace Silver. Mixed by 23-time Grammy winner Al Schmitt in the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood, Hilton's penchant for scattering Prokofiev and Bartok runs is delightful, as is her more ambient Steve Reich-styled dreamscapes.

Montreal singer/songwriter/guitarist Adam Karch is Moving Forward (Bros/FACTOR). Be it solo or with his trio of Marc-Andre Drouin (bass) and Bernard Deslauriers (drums), Karch captivates in his interpretations of Bob Seger ("Night Moves"), Keb Mo ("City Boy") and Warren Zevon ("Werewolves Of London") in a pure folk-pop amalgam with the kind of acoustic finger-picking that's as dexterous and nimble as his muse, Chet Atkins. Blueprints, in 2014, might've won him awards but Moving Forward is a such a roots-reverent oh-so-folksy 12-song experience that it's like making a new friend. His lyrics are poetic, especially opener "Seaside Venues" where he writes "standing like a statue while the sun paints your silhouette in Van Gogh yellow shining true." Dylanesque to the max, Adam Karch is a strong new voice that folks south of the Canadian border would do well to get to know.

Matty T. Wall goes from Jimi Hendrix ("Voodoo Chile") to Keb Mo ("Am I Wrong") to Robert Johnson ("Hellhound Of My Trail") on his terrific new Blue Skies debut (Hipster Dumpster Records). His riveting originals like the rockin' opener "Burnin' Up Burnin' Down" (check out the clip below), "Scorcher" and "Broken Heart Tattoo" will, indeed, tattoo you on your brain so deep you'll be humming this stuff for weeks. His stinging electric guitar hero moves are righteous, especially when ably backed by his tight little quintet of drummer Jaspar Miller, bassist Stephen Walker, organist Gordon Cant and back-up singer Deli Rowe. Dude's from Perth, Australia. Having grown up digging classic rock, he found his calling in the blues. Solid.

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TagsMark Dresser, Blogarrhea, Marcello Pellitteri, Lisa Hilton

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