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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Orchestra: The Space Between

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Musical adventurer Rob Mazurek's The Space Between is a provocative and heady fusion of sight and sound. The double disc set includes an audio CD and a DVD containing performance and multimedia artist Marianne M. Kim's haunting, abstract video accompaniment to the music. The forty-minute suite is divided conveniently, and perhaps whimsically, into eight segments of 5 minutes each. The tracks however flow into each other with no physical or conceptual breaks. The sonic backdrop is synth heavy and the ambiance shifts from otherworldly and expansive to intensely thunderous. Even when not watching the intriguing visual sequences the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Orchestra: The Space Between

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Like a painting by Mark Rothko, whose canvasses contain rectangular fields of color and light that convey more than a visual experience, the music of Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Orchestra transcends a mere audio happening. Rothko's paintings exceeded the aesthetic confines of their canvasses into a spiritual and psychological realm. Likewise, Mazurek makes visually appealing music.Mazurek's cornet is only part of this phenomenon. On The Space Between he wrote the music and text, provided the cover painting, and the electronics. His music grows beyond the sonic here too with a video and choreographed dance by Marianne ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek Octet: Skull Sessions

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Chicago-based cornetist Rob Mazurek has performed with the best and brightest of the new jazz music scene. On this outing he merges his Sao Paulo Underground and Starlicker bands and invites other artists, capturing the essence of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew era. Mazurek frames Davis' jazz-fusion attributes as a fertile means of reimagining the overall vibe from a modernist's perspective. Fueled by diesel engine-like power, the band layers radiant colors with throttling pulses and numerous contrasts via swirling riffs, memorable horn choruses, and a boundary-less methodology. “Skull Caves of Alderon" is one of four pieces spanning over ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek Octet: Skull Sessions

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The shadow of Miles Davis continues to influence the efforts of generations of jazz musicians, especially fellow trumpeters. Davis' myriad innovations span multiple styles and time periods, making it virtually impossible to ignore his achievements. Yet when the We Want Miles exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil asked former resident Rob Mazurek to devise a presentation inspired by his affinity for the Dark Prince's art, the notoriously individualistic cornetist decided to create new music for the event, rather than revisit the master's illustrious oeuvre.Currently residing in Chicago after an eight-year stint in São Paulo, Mazurek recruited an international cast ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek Pulsar Quartet: Stellar Pulsations

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Cornetist Rob Mazurek creates a liquid and volatile flow of time and space in his configuration of the planets, after which he names the compositions on this CD. Each has an attribute described by the arc of his imagination, bringing in distinctive structures and moulds. The band, drawn from the larger context of his Exploding Star Orchestra, gives the music a raw and resplendent energy.The quartet jumps into “Primitive Jupiter," with Mazurek and drummer John Herndon setting up the shifting sands of time. Mazurek weaves his lines into inventive strands, trimming the melody with flurries that escarp the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek Pulsar Quartet: Stellar Pulsations

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Originally schooled in the foundations of hard bop, cornetist Rob Mazurek, quickly surpassed the form's conventional limitations; his multihued electro-acoustic work over the past two decades has subsequently drawn inspiration from numerous genres besides jazz. Mazurek's unfettered creativity and stalwart leadership skills have thereby cemented his reputation as a key figure in the Chicago scene--primarily as organizer of the venerable Chicago Underground Collective and several other innovative ensembles including Exploding Star Orchestra, São Paulo Underground and Starlicker.Stellar Pulsations, the studio debut of Mazurek's Pulsar Quartet, eschews his usual penchant for computerized processing and electronic loops, offering a stirring ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek's Starlicker: Double Demon

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Starlicker is a trio which crosses the genres with ease and a healthy disregard for categorization. Cornetist Rob Mazurek is one of those musicians more preoccupied with the future of improvised music than with its glorious past. Much the same can be said for vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, who once again proves himself to be one of a handful of post-Bobby Hutcherson, post-Walt Dickerson players out there working in new margins, while drummer John Herndon has long been a stalwart of post-rock collective Tortoise. In view of Starlicker's respective track records it's perhaps unsurprising that its collective music ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek's Starlicker: Double Demon

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It may seem like an anomaly to suggest that a jazz ensemble has to strip down to power up, but Starlicker does just that. Cornetist Rob Mazurek disassembled his Exploding Star Orchestra (which regularly has more than a dozen players) and Quintet into just a trio, with remaining players, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz and drummer John Herndon. Sans numbers and electronics, Starlicker packs a powerful unadorned punch.Double Demon is as much about DIY indie-rock as it is about jazz. Mazurek recruited Herndon from the now-famous band Tortoise--an indie-rock band that's more about jazz and minimalism than rock--to supply a ...

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Rob Mazurek and Tortoise: New Chicago

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The “Chicago sound" may be a misnomer when used to describe the music of cornetist Rob Mazurek and the band Tortoise, but the unpretentious experimentalism of both sits foursquare in the city's musical tradition. Chicago has nurtured innovative artists from trumpeter Louis Armstrong through keyboardist Sun Ra. The Chicago-based AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) meanwhile is a touchstone for not only the new music of the 1960s, but also for the return of Chicago jazz to the improvised music vanguard in the 1990s, a revitalisation which is continuing into the new millennium. Rob Mazurek

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek Quintet: Sound Is

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On the surface, cornet and keyboard player Rob Mazurek doesn't seem to have a lot of time for the past. His commitment to music outside of any overt “jazz" continuum helps keep him fresh and avoid the sterility of a neo-conservative stance, so that even when the experimental nature of the music misfires, the degree of commitment still shines through.

All of this is apparent when his cornet comes to the fore on “The Earthquake Tree," where soloist and band coalesce nicely in a setting tinged in equal measure by fusion and post-bop, but without any of their usual connotations. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek Quintet: Sound Is

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Currently residing in Brasilia, Brazil, but making frequent returns to his hometown of Chicago, cornetist Rob Mazurek is the quintessential international artist, and one of the Windy City's most prolific scene leaders. A former hard bop prodigy, Mazurek long ago took the road less traveled, developing into one of today's most creative sound sculptors. Moving beyond the confines of traditional performance, he has expanded his reach as a multi-media artist while continuing to lead the Chicago Underground, Exploding Star Orchestra, Mandarin Movie and Sao Paulo Underground.

A magnanimous collaborator, Mazurek's numerous collectives all possess their own distinct identity. ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Rob Mazurek's excellent adventures in Brazil and France

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Like bassist Williams Parker or fellow midwesterner, reed player Ken Vandermark, trumpeter and cornetist Rob Mazurek is a hub around which much creative activity revolves. He is a musician, musical organizer and visual artist whose hunger for invention is seemingly limitless. After his early (1990s) foray into bebop, he began to realize the possibilities of modern sound in the hotbed of the creative Chicago scene. He was a force behind the Chicago Underground collective bands and Tigersmilk, and a key contributor to Tortoise, HiM and Ted Sirota's Rebel Soul Ensemble.

In the midst of this success Mazurek moved ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek: Mandarin Movie

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Rob Mazurek is a multifaceted artist who explores not only music but also painting and multimedia. His work reflects ideas posited by John Cage about the continuum from music to noise, but Mazurek is allied with the “underground," and Mandarin Movie might be called prog-industrial or prog-techno music, sort of analagous to prog-rock or grunge-rock. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but much of the record is engulfed in layers of extreme distortion, and it felt to me like an assault much of the time. The record starts off with the difficult “Orange that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rob Mazurek/Mandarin Movie: Mandarin Movie

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Besides being a musician, cornetist Rob Mazurek is also a visual artitst. The member of Tigersmilk, Isotope 217, and the Chicago Underground Duo, Trio, Quartet, and Orchestra also paints and constructs multimedia installations.

Mandarin Movie draws as much from the musical aspects of his personality as the painterly ones. His band Mandarin Movie, whose name comes from a dream of rooftop flying saucers, creates layer upon layer of sound. Some of it is music, some is noise. But of course one man's music is another's... well, you get the picture.

Like his recent solo work, Mazurek ...



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