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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra: Matter Anti-Matter

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When he was under contract with Arista in the 1970s, reedman Anthony Braxton discovered that he was able to slip under the rug the release of some of his less commercially viable works, such as the mammoth For Four Orchestras (1978), by alternating them with more traditional quartet material. While electro-acoustic composer and cornetist Rob Mazurek won't be pulling the wool over anyone's eyes at the Paris-based Rogue Art imprint, he has achieved a similar outcome by coupling two opposite ends of the sonic spectrum on the double CD set Matter Anti-Matter. For the disc likely to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Exploding Star Orchestra: Stars Have Shapes

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This release by the Exploding Star Orchestra is one of those rare examples of a present day unit able to travel to other places. Under the direction of cornet player and composer Rob Mazurek they've come up with a program of music which incorporates advances outside of the jazz tradition even while it strikes an extraordinary balance between established precedents and developments still in the process of fruition. Thus the collective voices on “Ascension Ghost Impression #2" are notable for the degree to which individual ego is negated in favor of group identity. Indeed the maelstrom of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Exploding Star Orchestra: Stars Have Shapes

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Stars Have Shapes is dedicated to the memory of recently deceased seminal free jazz innovators Fred Anderson and Bill Dixon, both of whom played with cornetist Rob Mazurek's all-star ensemble on separate occasions, including the magnificent summit meeting Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey, 2008). Featuring a rotating cast of renowned Chicago improvisers, the Exploding Star Orchestra has become a mainstay in the Windy City's jazz scene and a significant part of Mazurek's growing discography.Sequenced like the two sides of a vinyl LP, Stars Have Shapes is a dense and expansive album, featuring two long-form compositions ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra: Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra

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Prolific bandleader Rob Mazurek follows his 2007 Exploding Star Orchestra debut, We Are All From Somewhere Else, with this landmark vehicle for the legendary yet elusive Bill Dixon. Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra is a sprawling meeting of minds, as Dixon fronts a thirteen-piece ensemble on a set designed especially for him. At the height of his expressive powers, Dixon's signature trumpet tones are scrawled all over the album's lengthy suites with masterful artistry.

“Entrances/One" and “Entrances/Two," both written and arranged with spontaneous conducting by Dixon, follow similar paths while offering distinctive experiences. Instruments are constantly in flux, overlapping ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Exploding Star Orchestra: We Are All From Somewhere Else

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This record bristles with the hubris of an artist who ignores conventional notions of prevailing styles, blithely imposes his own aesthetic vision, and achieves a rousing artistic success in the end. That artist is Chicago-turned-São Paulo cornetist Rob Mazurek, who composed and conducted this performance.This record also bristles with the sound of electric eels. That's not a clumsy metaphor: I mean, literally, that Mazurek recorded eels in a special tank at a research laboratory in Brazil (two species, “Pulsating" and “Waveform ) and you can hear them during a musical passage entitled “Psycho-Tropic Electric Eel Dream.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Exploding Star Orchestra: We Are All From Somewhere Else

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Working from a commission by the Chicago Cultural Center and the Jazz Institute to assemble a group representing Chicago's contemporary avant-garde, cornetist/composer Rob Mazurek's newest venture, the Exploding Star Orchestra, has long since eclipsed its provisional origins. Conceptualized and composed between Brazil, France and the States, We Are All From Somewhere Else is as ambitious in scope as it is in execution.

Mazurek's recent music sounds partially inspired by his new home in São Paulo, where he lives with his Brazilian-born scientist wife. The sonic interpretation of a surreal parable about cosmic transformation involving electric eels, stingrays, exploding ...



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