Born in New York yet reared in Denmark, percussionist Marilyn Mazur has performed with a who’s who of modern jazz artists, which includes a stint with the late Miles Davis. Basically, Ms. Mazur is recognized as a percussionist who melds supple rhythms and multihued patterns into lyrically rich frameworks while adhering to compositional structure, nuance and subtly via her variegated array of instruments. These days, Ms. Mazur has been recording and touring with Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek while also performing with Denmark’s highly esteemed “Copenhagen Art Ensemble” who along with the vocal group “Ars Nova” provide the percussionist with exemplary support on her new solo release titled, Jordsange (Earth Songs).
Throughout, Ms. Mazur incorporates “Ars Nova’s” choir-like or angelic vocal choruses amid the Copenhagen Art Ensemble’s thoroughly modern horn arrangements and the atmospheric treatments provided by special guests, vocalist Aviaja Lumholt and guitarist Eivind Aarset. With “Den som Blaeser ud” (he who blows out), Mazur imparts a wide spectrum of tonalities via her artful and often sympathetic utilization of bells, drums and tiny percussion instruments as she often establishes a temperate flow to coincide with her acute conducting abilities and general leadership. Here, keyboardist Thomas Clausen pursues ethereal soundscapes in concert with hallowed vocals and melodic themes as the music conveys storybook imagery that is at times fascinating yet profusely engrossing! On the composition titled, “Evigheden (Eternity)”, the horns elicit (subliminal) imagery of a Mexican mariachi band atop counterbalancing grooves and climactic undercurrents as an air of uncertainty coexists with intensifying Afro-Cuban rhythms and electric guitarist Eivind Aarset’s hard-edged fretwork. However, peace and tranquillity rise above all, as this opus reaches its finale with vocalise that bespeaks solemn overtones. Highly recommended!
* * * * ½ (out of * * * * *)
Marilyn Mazur; conductor, percussion, bass-keyboards (on track # 5), gongs and sounds of Paiste and Hubback and many other sources:Ars Nova; Sopranos
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.