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by Max Bessesen

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Nungam 00:51
Bakkam 07:20
Mantra 07:20
Trials 02:00


Trouble and mayhem,
the kind that won't abate.

Trials, travails,
I see them on your face.

You need shelter
From this attack.

That red hot swelter,
the blue, the cold, the black.

Dedicated to Zac Nunnery and anyone in Trouble


Max Bessesen’s distinct sound and personal melodies have made him a much sought-after saxophonist in Chicago’s vibrant music community. While Max has varied musical interests including folk, electronic and classical music, his approach is rooted in jazz and united by a love of collaboration and improvisation.

Max is one part of the collectivist crossover group Echoes whose latest release “Loading Screen” (Outside in Music) has been described as “the sound of jazz in the ‘right now’” by Jazziz Magazine. He is also an active member of The Chicago Folklore Ensemble, Emily Kuhn’s Helios and the Sam Pilnik Nonet among others. Max will release his first album as a leader entitled “Trouble” (Ropeadope Records) on September 4th 2020.

In 2016 Max was the first jazz musician awarded a fellowship from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund. This grant allowed him to travel for a year across India, Ghana, and Cuba to study music under the mentorship of masters of Indian Classical, traditional West African and Afro-Cuban forms.

Born in Denver, Colorado Max was performing professionally by age 14. During his undergraduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory, he earned an outstanding performance award from Downbeat Magazine and studied with Gary Bartz, Eddie Henderson and Billy Hart. Max has performed with Ron Miles, Greg Ward, Matt Ulery, and many others. He has appeared on stages at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Swingin’ Groinigen Festival, Cleveland’s Tri-C Jazz Festival and can be seen regularly at Chicago jazz and creative music venues including Andy’s, Constellation and The Green Mill.


released September 4, 2020

Ron Miles Cornet (Tracks 1, 2, 6, 8, 10) Piccolo Trumpet (Tracks, 6 and 9)
Nathan Friedman Drums
Eric Krouse Piano (all tracks), Wurlizer (Track 6)
Ethan Philion Bass
Max Bessesen Alto Saxophone

Produced by Max Bessesen
Tracks 1-4 & 6-10 Recorded by Loren Dorland at Mighty Fine Productions in Denver, CO
Track 5 Recorded by Blaise Barton at Joyride Studios in Chicago, IL
Tracks 1-4 & 6-9 by Max Bessesen, Track 5 by Eric Krouse and Track 10 by Sammy Cahn
Mixed and Mastered by Anthony Gravino in Chicago, IL

Illustration by Arthur Wright and Design by Christopher Drukker


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Max Bessesen Chicago, Illinois

Praised for his “saxophone virtuosity” by Downbeat Magazine, Max Bessesen is a rising young saxophonist and composer in New York City. His work draws heavily from jazz and improvised music and according to JazzTimes, it “is nothing if not evocative.”

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