AMN Reviews: Moser / Dresser / Anderson / Modirzadeh – For My Mother (2017; Minus Zero)

Minus Zero is a new label started by Vijay Anderson, Ben Goldberg, and Dina Maccabee. All of the proceeds from album sales are donated to Planned Parenthood. This is a review in an ongoing series covering the label’s releases.

Featuring Diane Moser on piano, Mark Dresser on bass, Vijay Anderson on drums, and Hafez Modirzadeh on saxophones, this album is the first time the group came together and was recorded live at Dizzy’s Jazz in Pacific Beach, California. Unlike many other releases on the Minus Zero label, the free improv is turned down a few notches. Instead, the instrumentation herein embodies the “classic jazz” quartet of the 1960s, and the music does not stray terribly far from that mold. With a nod to Coltrane and Miles, Moser, Dresser, Anderson, and Modirzadeh provide a set of largely composed, yet angular pieces. Modirzadeh and Moser lead with playful themes that even swing a bit. Modirzadeh’s warblings are punctuated by Moser’s accentuations. Dresser and Anderson combine to a busy yet understated rhythm section, with walking lines and cymbal-heavy work. This is not to say that For My Mother does not explore or go outside from time to time, just that such excursions are not the focus here.