Skaller/Holt Duo – “Music of Mark Dresser” – [Pfmentum]
Hampshire College, a unique place featuring majors such as magic and juggling, was the common point for the artists who put this release together. Composer Mark Dresser taught improvisation at Hampshire, Phil Skaller was his teaching assistant, and Phil knew Danny Holt. Dresser’s excellent liner notes to this CD detail the intricacies of how Skaller and Holt teamed up to reinvent Dresser’s compositions using pianos, celeste, toy piano, melodica, and percussion. The result is a delightful combination of traditional and improvised piano ventures into virtuosity and jangle jam rhythms. Track 3 is a minimal piece of sweet bells tinkling and plinking, while 4 is noteworthy for its ability to morph from a slow pace to a more jazzy andante piece that showcases the musicians’ talents nicely.