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Susie Ibarra & Mark Dresser
TONE TIME
(Wobbly Rail)
Stars graphics

Bassist Dresser carries most of the weight on this fitfully interesting duet with drummer Ibarra. The veteran bassist has a deep bag of arresting textures, startling tone colors, and off-balance rhythms, and that makes his playing continually surprising. And though his eerie sonorities dazzle your ears, his sophisticated sense of design turns his solos into jigsaw-puzzle structures. His playing on "Surrealm," "Slipinstyle," and "Simmer" combines the lyrical and the unfamiliar in equal measure.

Ibarraís response to Dresserís refinement sounds rather pedestrian. Itís not that she plays badly, itís just that on most of the tracks, what she plays is either too deferential or too expected. When she throws her considerable technique into multi-layered rhythms and textures that interlock with Dresserís, as she does on "The Weaver," "Untold," and the four short tracks "Sphere AĖD," thereís an electricity in the music thatís missing elsewhere.

BY ED HAZELL


Issue Date: April 2 - 8, 2004
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