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