Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

308

Marilyn Mazur: Elixir

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Percussionist Marilyn Mazur is a prime example of why many drummers these days are prone to listing themselves also as percussionists. The distinction is important beyond the number of instruments available to the player and involves the attitude towards their place in any musical enterprise.

Drummer/percussionists like Paul Motian, Jon Christensen or Tony Oxley might not play as many instruments as Mazur, but their contribution to the music is more of a voice that happens to be percussive rather than just a time keeper.

Elixir is a magical, entrancing album that entices the listener primarily through sound rather than rhythm or pulse. Mazur plays not only many different kinds of drums but also pitched instruments including marimba, bowed vibraphone, waterphone and various gongs and bells. The resultant sounds create an aura in which time stops, carrying us away to mysterious places that feel very large.

Mazur's decision to include saxophonist Jan Garbarek (who also plays flute), comes from her long association with him (both recording on ECM and playing live) and the desire to collaborate with herself leading.

The duo tracks are successful in that Garbarek emphasizes tone and line over technique—in other words, he values the sound he makes as much or more than the harmonic implications of the line he plays. However, although Garbarek plays on about half the tracks, which are short and average around three minutes, the most involving are those in which he plays within an arrhythmic context and his sound is but a partner with those from Mazur.

The less successful tracks, that is, those which have the least surprise, are the dances such as "Dunun Song," "Joy Chant," "Spirit Of Sun," "Totem Dance" and "River." In comparison to the rhythmically free or rubato tracks, the pulse feels like a straightjacket, especially when combined with Garabek's repetitive phrasing.

The rest of the album is exquisite, opening and closing with "Clear" and "Clear Recycle" that are announced with huge resonant gongs over which Garbarek plays a long-limbed theme that gracefully advances and recedes. All is mystery, huge spaces and a timelessness uncorrupted by a strict pulse.

Placed within these bookends are "Pathway" and "Winter Wish," which lead into and out of the interior tracks of the album. The essence of Mazur's playing is a combination of amazing technique—there are no overdubs—and a sure sense of development.

The solo pieces work exceedingly well not only because of the variety of sounds that Mazur can produce, but especially because she creates sound cells that are treated in much the same way a phrase would be by a player of a pitched instrument. The music—these are not mere drum solos—carry us ever forward to the end of each track, many of which could easily have been longer.

Mazur creates music of beauty and surprising variety on Elixir, even, or especially without Garbarek, inviting us into her special sound world.

Track Listing: Clear; Pathway; Dunun Song; Joy Chant; Bell-Painting; Elixir; Orientales; Metal Drew; Mother Drum; Mountain Breath; Creature Walk; Spirit of Air; Spirit of Sun; Sheep Dream; Talking Wind; Totem Dance; The Siren in the Well; River; On the Move; Winter Wish; Clear Recycle.

Personnel: Marilyn Mazur: percussion; Jan Garbarek: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute.

Title: Elixir | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Radio
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Shamania

Shamania

RareNoiseRecords
2019

buy
Celestial Circle

Celestial Circle

ECM Records
2011

buy
Elixir

Elixir

ECM Records
2008

buy
 

All The Birds -...

Les Disques Victo
2002

buy
 

Jordsange

Dacapo Records
2000

buy
 

Jordsange / Earth...

Les Disques Victo
2000

buy

Related Articles

Read Sheer Reckless Abandon Album Reviews
Sheer Reckless Abandon
By John Kelman
May 19, 2019
Read Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z Album Reviews
Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z
By Jack Bowers
May 19, 2019
Read To My Brothers Album Reviews
To My Brothers
By Victor L. Schermer
May 19, 2019
Read Social Music Album Reviews
Social Music
By Roger Farbey
May 19, 2019
Read Circle Inside The Folds Album Reviews
Circle Inside The Folds
By John Eyles
May 18, 2019
Read Momentum Album Reviews
Momentum
By Jerome Wilson
May 18, 2019
Read Bonsai Club Album Reviews
Bonsai Club
By Roger Farbey
May 18, 2019