by Michael Dessen
Michael Dessen (trombone, composition), Mark Dresser (bass), Susie Ibarra (drums), Vijay Iyer (piano), Terry Jenoure (violin), Bob Weiner (drums), and Jorge Roeder (bass)
Circumvention Music, 2007
Purchase CD from Circumvention Music

“Lineal features trombonist Michael Dessen in an accessible session – accessible to readers who follow the mainstream as well as to those who prefer the leading edge…. Recommended, Lineal provides many surprises through a program with wide appeal.”
Cadence, Jim Santella

“The eight tracks on Lineal are intricate affairs, packed with detail and referencing a wide range of traditions and developments in contemporary jazz. In fact, they’re so packed with detail that listening to the whole album in one go is quite a challenge, but a highly enjoyable one.”
Paris Transatlantic, Dan Warburton

“[Lineal is] some terrific music, mostly hard-hitting and groove-based but quite varied…”
Exclaim, Nate Dorward

Sample track: Lineal
Download score PDF

Sample track: The eye is the first circle


1. what space can hide the liberty of a line (6:22)
2. levity in detail (6:12)
3. lineal (6:22)
4. not minutes, but breaths (8:24)
5. the eye is the first circle (7:17)
6. something singular (for e.d.) (5:54)
7. flecha (10:10)
8. duo (2:03)

Michael Dessen: trombone [1-8]
Vijay Iyer, piano [2, 3, 7]
Mark Dresser, bass [2, 3, 6, 7]
Susie Ibarra, percussion [2, 3, 7, 8]
Jorge Roeder, bass [1, 4, 5]
Bob Weiner, percussion [1, 4, 5]
Terry Jenoure, violin [5]

What space can hide the liberty of a line is the first line in a poem (1990) by Horacio Costa (in Nothing the sun could not explain: 20 contemporary Brazilian poets).
Levity in detail is a series of paintings (2005) by Mariángeles Soto-Díaz.
Lineal is a word that means both of a lineage, and linear.
Not minutes, but breaths was originally an electro-acoustic piece that included an excerpt from a 2003 newscast in which an expert describes the impending US war plan of “shock and awe” in Iraq as something that would achieve its intended effect “not in days or weeks, but in minutes.”
The eye is the first circle is a painting (1960) by Lee Krasner, who herself borrowed the phrase from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Something singular (for E.D.) is inspired by and dedicated to Eric Dolphy and especially his composition “something sweet, something tender” (1964).
Flecha means arrow, but if someone is yelling it at you, it might mean that you’re going the wrong way down a one-way street (“story of my life” – Mark Dresser).
Duo is the only so-called “free” improvisation here, though we like to think that, as drummer Philly Joe Jones once put it, “i’ve been playing free all my life” (Notes and tones: Musician to musician interviews).


Thanks to Mark Dresser, Susie Ibarra, Vijay Iyer, Bob Weiner, Jorge Roeder, and Terry Jenoure for their amazing artistry and generosity of spirit. Thanks also to George Lewis, Anthony Davis, Yusef Lateef, Anthony Burr, Steve Langdon, Jason Robinson, Mike Wofford, Rob Thorsen, Craig Dawson, Kerry Campbell, Nathan Hubbard, Scott Walton, Ellen Weller, Alan Lechusza, Dana Reason, Marcelo Radulovich, Jason Stanyek, Shahrokh Yadegari, Bonnie Wright, Marty Ehrlich, J.D. Parran, Muhal Richard Abrams, Archer, Glenn Siegel, Margaux Simmons, Dan Warner, Sal Macchia, and Bruce Reinoso. Thanks also to Hampshire College and the University of California, Irvine for faculty development funding that partially supported this project. And thanks above all to my loving families, north and south, and especially to m+k, without whom I cannot imagine anything.

Tracks 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8: recorded 7.20.05 at Systems Two in Brooklyn, NY
Tracks 1, 4, and 5: recorded on 3.29.06 at Northfire Recording in Amherst, MA
Producer: Michael Dessen
Mixing and editing: Anthony Burr and Michael Dessen
Mastering: Steve Langdon
Engineers: Jon Rosenberg (Systems Two) and Garrett Sawyer (Northfire)
Graphic design: Andrew West
Front cover image: detail from “Levity in detail #4” by Mariángeles Soto-Díaz

All compositions by Michael Dessen (ASCAP), except track 8 by Ibarra/Dessen
© + ℗ Michael Dessen 2007
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