Mark Dresser is a virtuoso contrabass player and composer whose uncompromising voice and singular style has impressed international audiences since 1972. Not content with the traditional parameters of the contrabass in jazz and new music, Dresser has developed a cutting edge system of custom electro-acoustic microphones to amplify his ownunmistakable vocabulary on the instrument.
This vocabulary is easily recognizable in over seventy recordings, including those with other luminaries of "new " jazz composition and improvisation such as Ray Anderson, Tim Berne, Andrew Cyrille, Anthony Davis, Robert Dick, Dave Douglas, Marty Ehrlich, Gerry Hemingway, Bob Ostertag, John Zorn and others. For nine years he performed and recorded with the Anthony Braxton Quartet with Gerry Hemingway and Marilyn Crispell.
A coterie of world class musicians make up Dresser's current performance ensembles, which showcase his compositional versatility. These include: Mark Dresser's Trio, featuring "hyper"pianist Denman Maroney and multi-flutist Mathias Ziegler; Mark Dresser's Force Green featuring Dave Douglas or Herb Robertson on trumpet, Theo Bleckmann- voice; hyper-pianist Denman Maroney, Phil Haynes or Mike Sarin, drums; The Modular Ensemble, which performs his chamber music compositions and features violinists Matt Manieri and Mary Rowell, violist Marius Ungureanu, cellist Francis Marie Uitti, Denman Maroney, and Mathias Ziegler.
He has written, performed and recorded music trio music for the 1919 German expressionist silent film classic, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, (1994) with Dave Douglas and Denman Maroney. He composed music for the 1929 French/Surrealist film Un Chien Andalou (1997) keyboardist/composer Anthony Coleman and clarinetist/sax player Chris Speed. His current film project is a collaboration with Los Angeles visual artists Tom Leeser and Alison Saar based on Dresser's seminal work, "Subtonium", which will be adapted for the Mark Dresser Trio.
In addition to his own ensembles, Mark Dresser is a founding member of the string trio, Arcado , and was commissioned by the WDR Radio of Cologne, Germany in 1991 to compose "For Not the Law" for string trio and orchestra. Released on JMT, "For Three Strings and Orchestra", is the third of five CDs recorded by Arcado. The repertoire of the Double Trio, a collaboration between Arcado and the Trio du Clarinettes included Dresser's piece "Bosnia", which was commissioned by the Banliue Bleues Festival in Paris. Mark Dresser 's recent collaborative projects include Tambastics with multi-flutist Robert Dick, Gerry Hemingway, and Denman Maroney and a trio with multi-reed player Marty Ehrlich and drummer Andrew Cyrille.
Mark Dresser has also received commissions for compositions for other instruments including a 1998 commission from the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress for "Air to Mir", a piece for violin and piano, and "Banquet" which was commissioned by Swiss flute virtuoso Mathias Ziegler and is the title track of the Tzadik CD (1998). His most recent commission is for tuba virtuoso David LeClair and will be written for a mixed quintet. Mark Dresser has twice been awarded a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts and has received several grants for performer and composer including Meet the Composer. He holds both a Bachelor and Master of Arts from the University of California at San Diego where he studied with contrabass virtuoso Bertram Turetzky. He is also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for advanced musical studies in Italy with noted contrabassist Franco Petracchi.
Mark Dresser makes his home in Brooklyn, New York.