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Mark Helias

Here’s a man who likes long associations. He played bass with drummer Ed Blackwell for 17 years, and his collaborations with Ray Anderson and Gerry Hemingway lasted for a quarter of a century and continue ‘til this day. That preference didn’t interfere with his many encounters with musicians like Oliver Lake, Anthony Davis, Julius Hemphill, Barry Altschull, Arthur Blythe, Marilyn Crispell, Anthony Braxton, Don Byron and Cecil Taylor, among a legion of others. His duo with the also double bassist Mark Dresser (The Marks Brothers) is of legendary fame. Pointed as a “jack-of-all-trades”, he’s a composer of very different moods and situations, from the pastoral to the power-driven, concerned not only with the variety of his proceedings but also with finding new ways to explore. To Peter Watrous, critic for the New York Times, Helias music “pushes and jostless like a river about to jump its banks, but it is identified by its attention to form, a precision and logic that make his pieces sound symmetrical and clean”. In fact, both his compositions and his playing are exquisite, reminding us that form has nothing to do with expression itself and that the attention to one doesn’t exclude the other. Some musicians are all-form or all-expression, but this one know how to balance the two domains. Considering that Mark Helias already interpreted Schoenberg in a symphony orchestra, we’re not surprised.

Mark Helias's records on clean feed
NY Midnight Suite
Dennis González NY Quartet
The Whimbler
Gerry Hemingway Quartet
The Line Up
Dance of the Soothsayer’s Tongue (Live at Tonic)
Dennis González NY Quartet
Ancient and Future Airs
Paul Dunmall Sun Quartet
The Great Fine Line
Ricardo Gallo's Tierra de Nadie
The Other Parade
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