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 includes acoustic improvisations that are featured alongside commissioned works by composers Paula Matthusen, Peter V. Swendsen, Sam Pluta, and Kyle Bruckmann. The program is regularly expanding and the most recent addition is a new work by composer George Lewis called Seismologic for bassoon and four-channel sound. Her solo work has been presented at Amsterdam's Splendor, Studio LOOS in the Hague, the American Academy in Rome, Stanford's CCRMA, the Innova Festival in Minneapolis, Oberlin Conservatory's Stull Recital Hall, the SPLICE Institute in Kalamazoo, NYC's Avant Music Festival, NYC's SONiC Festival, the Third Practice Festival of Electroacoustic Music, Wet Ink Presents series in New York, and Chicago's Constellation venue, among others.
Purchase from Innova Recordings
Best of 2017: Noteworthy Recordings
—Steve Smith, National Sawdust Log
"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)
"Jessen's use of the different aspects of the horn are creative…a really interesting CD, especially for people who like contemporary classical music."
—Cadence Magazine (full review)
"... a daring album, one which shows that young musicians can have the vision and power to carve their own path with skills, and not afraid to go beyond the expected..."
—The Free Jazz Collective (full review)
Read about the collaborative process and story behind the Carve artwork in Denise Burt’s Seeing New Music.