Mark Dresser -In the Shadow of Mad King – featuring Jerome Rothenberg (Tzadik) Release June 21, 2024

Mark DresserAlbums Release

Mark Dresser: In the Shadow of a Mad King, Liner Notes:

“In the Shadow of a Mad King,” by the noted poet and anthologist Jerome Rothenberg, is an
epic work that continues to speak to the present American landscape. It is the centerpiece of a
collection of otherwise solo works.

“…how beautiful a lie is
when the truth won’t rhyme
letting a mad king’s voice come back to him
sounding his own name twice”

On December 16, 2020, during the most lethal period of our modern plague, my good friend, the
Sicilian bassist and new music activist Lelio Giannetto, was fighting for his life on a ventilator in
Palermo. I recorded Invocation for Lelio, specifically thinking of him. Music nor the medicine
available to him was not enough to overcome his illness and he passed away just a few days
On that same session I recorded Tineacious, inspired by a set of eight metal tines attached to
the bridge of a bass made for me by luthier, engineer, bassist and friend, Kent McLagan. The
idea of the tines was proposed as hybrid between an African mbira and “stroked rods,” an
aluminum instrument made by composer Robert Erickson. The overtone structure of the tines is
different than a string, both inharmonic and weirdly complimentary to the bass. Nonce is a
based on a polyrhythmic form of nine bars of eleven and loosely based on blues before it spins
off into abstraction.
The music for In the Shadow of a Mad King was developed over months of rehearsing together
with Jerry’s powerful words and dramatic cadence. Performing together with Jerry has been a
joy and a natural evolution of our friendship and artistic affinity. I am thankful to John Zorn, a
longtime admirer of Jerry’s work, who invited us to record together for Tzadik in 2023.

“…where a mad king fell
a mad king’s ghost arises
step after step his worshippers
rush to embrace him
the fateful answer to a grifter’s dream”