By Brad Cohan | Published August 2019
The labyrinthine and free-floating dynamics shaped by the Mark Dresser Seven further stamp the bandleader’s indelible mark on creative music. Dresser’s dense and colorful layering characterize the shapeshifting Ain’t Nothing But A Cyber Coup & You, the title an “attempt to give acerbic levity to our national reality-horror-show ... .”
A copacetic feel lights up the program, as does the mind-bendingly knotty configurations and explosive momentum found throughout the set’s six lengthy pieces and five solo bass interludes. The unpredictable time signatures—as heard on the combustible and chugging title track—might dizzy the senses, but a freewheeling, airy and infectious sensibility provide a constant state of bliss. The expansive, utopian landscapes Dresser sculpts swing with Mingusian abandon as the jazz titan’s exuberant big-band spirit finds itself channeled on “Let Them Eat Paper Towels” and the jaw-dropping album opener, the 12-minute “Black Arthur’s Bounce (In Memory Of Arthur Blythe).” The otherworldly back-and-forth interplay—Nicole Mitchell’s flute solos are especially spine-tingling—powered by Jim Black’s polyrhythmic, rock-informed heavy hitting and Dresser’s thick and mellifluous plucks are rousing and revelatory.
Toeing the line of straightahead jazz, classical music and the avant-garde—complete with a hopeful message—Ain’t Nothing But A Cyber Coup & You is a sublime tonic for these times of tumult.
Ain’t Nothing But A Cyber Coup & You: Black Arthur’s Bounce (In Memory Of Arthur Blythe); Pre-Gloam; Gloaming; Pre-Maria; Let Them Eat Paper Towels; Far; Embodied In Seoul; Pre-Coup; Ain’t Nothing But A Cyber Coup & You; Song Tine; Butch’s Balm (In Memory Of Butch Lacy). (62:42)
Personnel: Mark Dresser, bass, McLagan Tines; Nicole Mitchell, flute, alto flute, piccolo; Marty Ehrlich, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone; Keir Gogwilt, violin; Michael Dessen, trombone; Joshua White, piano; Jim Black, drums, percussion.