Carve is Dana Jessen's solo program of music for bassoon and electronics, as well as the title of her debut solo album that blurs the lines between composition, interpretation, and improvisation. The program currently presents four new works by American composers Paula Matthusen, Peter V. Swendsen, Sam Pluta, and Kyle Bruckmann. In each, a mix of fixed and reactive electronics create environments for the bassoon to navigate and explore. Sometimes fixed, sometimes open, the structures of the pieces build spaces. The album has received support from New Music USA and has been performed at Amsterdam's Splendor, the American Academy in Rome, Stanford’s CCRMA, Oberlin Conservatory's Stull Recital Hall, and the Bop Stop in Cleveland, with individual pieces performed at the Avant Music Festival, Third Practice Festival of Electroacoustic Music, Wet Ink Presents series in New York, and Chicago's Constellation venue.
Purchase from Innova Recordings
PRESS"Bassoon virtuoso Dana Jessen...recently dropped a stunning solo album called Carve (Innova). Between electronics-saturated pieces by Pluta, Paula Matthusen, Peter V. Swendsen, and her cohort in Splinter Reeds Kyle Bruckmann, Jessen interweaves short improvisations that demonstrate particular techniques—like playing without a reed or using a reed only—and seamlessly connect composed material. It’s still early, but Carve is one of the strongest records I've heard in the New Year."
—Chicago Reader (full article)
"For those who appreciate unusual applications of familiar instruments—such as the accordion techniques of Pauline Oliveros or the solo soprano saxophone experiments of Sam Newsome—there is that element of surprising improvisation in Jessen's work. Far from being a novelty recording, Carve is an eye-opening experience in the ways of an underutilized instrument. Jessen's virtuosity, and selection for this program, make this an intriguing listening experience."
—All About Jazz (full review)
"Hers is an expressive presence with a warm tone and a refined vibrato, both of which preserve a humanistic heart in the midst of technological embellishment. It's a finely calibrated balance, achieved as well by the composers' sensitively crafted environments in which Jessen's voice can resonate. And in the end, it's Jessen's appealing musical personality that animates this outstanding collection of work."
—Avant Music News (full review)
"I'm transfixed by the elegance with which she sways between these modes of mind, unravelling foresight and concentration into passages of profound grace."
—ATTN:Magazine (full review)
"On her debut album Carve, bassoonist Dana Jessen challenges listeners to discard any preconceived notions they may have about the instrument, and allow themselves to be swept away into a magical world of colorful acoustic and electronic soundscapes."
—Cleveland Classical (full review)
Read about the collaborative process and story behind the Carve artwork in Denise Burt’s Seeing New Music.