Solo Double Bass Day 1

Mark Dresser is not only a true master of the double bass but also a lifelong researcher, innovator and conceptualist of the bull fiddle’s almost infinite sonic possibilities, and a rare musician who treats his instrument as an orchestra rather than a string instrument. Dresser finds in the double bass orchestras within orchestras, crosscurrents of harmonic and multiphonic inspiration that engage in captivating and entrancingly beautiful dialogues.

On Tines of Change, his sixth solo double bass album, Dresser presents a dozen new explorations performed on unconventional four and five-string basses crafted by the Colorado-based bassist and luthier Kent McLagan. The title refers to those basses’ most striking feature, an array of metal tines affixed to a secondary bridge. Like the strings, these tines can be plucked or bowed, offering a variety of sounds from the percussive to the ethereal. McLagan also embedded hand-wound individual magnetic pickups into the fingerboard of the bass, one set below the nut and the other at the octave. These additional pickups allow Dresser to sound up to three different pitches on each string, as well as amplify subtle tones and pitches that might otherwise go unheard in a live or collaborative setting.

With these innovative double basses, Dresser experiments, sculpts and orchestrates microtonal, produces soft and exotic flute-like sounds, or crafts mysterious polyphonic dialogs with himself. He juggles with suggestive overtones and percussive beats and explores deep harmonic sonorities and multiphonics that evoke the overtone-rich tradition of throat singing. Dresser’s sonic vision is always compelling and insightful, always performed with inspired musical command, beauty and elegance, and, obviously, always reveals so many surprising, different and distinct voices of the double bass.

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