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Rob Mazurek

Rob Mazurek is a multidisciplinary artist/abstractivist, with a focus on electro-acoustic composition, improvisation, performance, painting, sculpture, video, film and installation, who spent much of his creative life in Chicago, and then Brazil. He currently lives and works in Marfa Texas with his wife Britt Mazurek.

Mazurek was born in 1965 in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1975 he moved with his family to a suburb of Chicago where he started playing cornet at the age of 10. A confrontation with the music of Sun Ra at the age of 16 at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 1981 had inspired Mazurek to want to become a serious composer performer. He first learned the foundations of improvised music while studying jazz theory and practice with David Bloom at the Bloom School of Jazz in Chicago, at the same time studying composition with Ralph Dodds (Roosevelt University), Sheldon Atovsky (Depaul University), Easley Blackwood (University of Chicago) and Ken Prince (Chicago). He began working with Chicago musicians Kenny Prince, Robert Barry, Jodie Christian, Lin Halliday, John Webber, George Fludas, Eric Alexander, Randy Tressler, Dennis Carol and Earma Thompson and many others in the mid 80’s-early 90’s.

In the early 90’s Mazurek released his first recording “Man Facing East” on the HEP records label featuring George Fludas, John Webber and Randolph Tressler, and released 2 more records with the addition of Eric Alexander. In 1993 he started painting in earnest after being stunned by a Mark Rothko painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and soon after created work that would eventually be used for the record covers for Chicago Underground Duo’s seminal work Synesthesia, Axis and Alignment and Isotope 217’s split remix. In1994, Mazurek formed the Chicago Underground Collective with guitarist Jeff Parker with a cast of revolving players including Robert Barry and Joshua Abrams, before settling on the lineup that would become the first release on Delmark Records “Playground” which features Jeff Parker, Chad Taylor, Chris Lopes, Sara Smith, Chad Taylor, a unit that ranges in size from duo to orchestra. The Underground’s first release on Delmark Records “Playground” was released with critical attention. Isotope 217 (conceived by Jeff Parker) was consequently born at this time and also began his fascination with incorporating electronics/computer music into his compositions and improvisations. The mid 90’s proved to be a fertile time for many musicians and artists, with the Chicago Underground and Isotope 2017 creating and releasing 6 full length records for Delmark and Thrill Jockey records.

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Album Review

Rob Mazurek: Milan

Read "Milan" reviewed by Alberto Bazzurro


Inciso in presa diretta a Radio Popolare il 25 settembre 2023, questo singolare album esprime l'anima multiforme, anche vorace (e a volte un po' dispersiva), di Rob Mazurek, impegnato su un'autentica selva di strumenti, cosa del resto in lui non così rara (si ascolti per esempio il più o meno coevo Medea, inciso in coppia con Gabriele Mitelli). La natura totalmente improvvisata dell'opera (ma con strutture messe a punto all'impronta che denotano un intento narrativo/evolutivo/espositivo piuttosto chiaro, palpabile) ...

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Album Review

Rob Mazurek: Milan

Read "Milan" reviewed by Glenn Astarita


Rob Mazurek has long been hailed as an innovator in the realm of avant-garde jazz, his interdisciplinary, abstract journey taking him through projects like Exploding Star Orchestra, Chicago Underground Duo, São Paulo Underground, and Black Cube SP. These ventures display his innovative approach to music, pushing the envelope and challenging conventions. Unfortunately, Milan, does not reach the heights of his earlier projects, often feeling more like a collection of exploratory sketches than a polished artistic statement. The solo ...

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In Pictures

Rob Mazurek Galactic Percussion Unit at Centro d'Arte

Read "Rob Mazurek Galactic Percussion Unit at Centro d'Arte" reviewed by Luciano Rossetti


A collection of photos from the Rob Mazurek Special Project at Centro d'Arte in Padova on March 26 and 27, 2024 featuring Rob Mazurek, Damon Locks, Chad Taylor, Mauricio Takara, Pasquale Mirra and Mikel Patrick Avery. ...

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In Pictures

Novara Jazz 2023

Read "Novara Jazz 2023" reviewed by Luciano Rossetti


A collection of photos from a portion of the Novara Jazz Festival in Novara that ran from June 1 to June 11, 2023 featuring Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra, Joe McPhee, Gabriele Mitelli, Sebi Tramontana and Frank Gratkowski Duo, Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer, Damon Locks, Nicole Mitchell, Angelica Sanchez, Pasquale Mirra and many more. ...

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Live Review

NovaraJazz 2023

Read "NovaraJazz 2023" reviewed by Libero Farnè


NovaraJazz 2023 Novara, varie sedi 1--11.06.2023 “Abbiamo ormai alle spalle vent'anni di passione con l'amico e socio Riccardo Cigolotti, accanto a tanti che hanno legato un pezzo della loro vita a questa piccola grande avventura. Il nostro punto di partenza è sempre stato lavorare su Novara e sulla sua comunità con progetti nuovi e poco presenti in Italia, convinti che un territorio possa trarre beneficio dagli stimoli culturali e da un forte marketing territoriale." ...

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Album Review

Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra: Lightning Dreamers

Read "Lightning Dreamers" reviewed by Mark Corroto


The similarities between Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra and Sun Ra's Arkestra are numerous. Both leaders travel the spaceways via the technologies available in their time, applied through dynamic rhythm and pulse. For Ra, his sound began when he was an apprentice in Fletcher Henderson's band in the 1940s, and Mazurek's 1990s work revolved around Isotope 217 and the various Chicago Underground (and later São Paulo Underground) ensembles. Both bandleaders were composers of their time, nonetheless they always create music ...

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In Pictures

Skopje Jazz Festival 2022

Read "Skopje Jazz Festival 2022" reviewed by Ziga Koritnik


A collection of photos from the Skopje Jazz Festival 2022 in Skopje, North Macedonia from October 13, 2022 to October 16, 2022 featuring Thumbscrew with Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara, Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra with Fame's Chamber Orchestra Angelica Sanchez, Pasquale Mirra, Josh Abrams, Chad Taylor, Mauricio Takara, Damon Locks, Hamid Drake's Turiya: Honoring Alice Coltrane, Ndoho Ange, Susana Santos Silva, Jan Bang, Jamie Saft, Pasquale Mirra, Joshua Abrams, Abacaxi with Julien Desprez, Jean Francois Riffaud, Francesco Pastacaldi, ...

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Festival

Rob Mazurek's Desert Encrypts, a 3-Day creative music and visual art event scheduled for July 26-28th in Marfa, TX

Rob Mazurek's Desert Encrypts, a 3-Day creative music and visual art event scheduled for July 26-28th in Marfa, TX

Source: All About Jazz

Marfa Book Company presents Desert Encrypts, a three-day creative music and visual art event organized by multidisciplinary artist Rob Mazurek and Marfa Book Company’s Tim Johnson. In its second year, Desert Encrypts brings four internationally acclaimed artists together in Marfa, TX from July 26-28, 2019 for a series of performances and exhibitions. This year's quartet includes Berlin-based visual artist and filmmaker, Rosa Barba; percussionist, Chad Taylor; electronic music composer and sound artist, Jan St. Werner, and musician, composer, and visual ...

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Recording

Starlicker - Double Demon (2011)

Starlicker - Double Demon (2011)

Source: Something Else!

I don't know if it's a trend of not, but lately I've noticed a lot more unconventional trios in jazz. By “unconventional" I mean without the bassist, and the usual premise I've heard for doing this is to allow more freedom. Trying out uncommon configurations is an interesting and often stimulating tactic used to open up the music and go down new corridors when we live in a time when there are so few previously unexplored vistas left. One player ...

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Recording

Starlicker Trio (Mazurek, Adasiewicz, Herndon) Turns up the Heat on "Double Demon"

Starlicker Trio (Mazurek, Adasiewicz, Herndon) Turns up the Heat on "Double Demon"

Source: Gapplegate Music Review by Grego Edwards

The trio Starlicker (as heard on their release Double Demon, Delmark DE2011) is not your usual line-up playing the usual sorts of things. First off the instrumentation is not at all the norm. There's Rob Mazurek on cornet, Jason Adasiewicz, vibes, and John Herndon on drums. What this means in terms of sound has much to do with how the band approaches what could be a somewhat quieter ambiance, especially compared with Mazurek's large ensemble Exploding Star Orchestra (see this ...

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Recording

Starlicker - Double Demon (Delmark, 2011)

Starlicker - Double Demon (Delmark, 2011)

Source: Music and More by Tim Niland

Cornetist Rob Mazurek may live in Brazil now, but he retains deep ties to the Chicago jazz scene. Joining up with John Herndon on percussion and Jason Adasiewicz vibraphone they take us on a beautiful cosmic voyage, something akin to an updated Sun Ra small ensemble if there were such a thing.

They combine their sounds very well, sounding much bigger than three pieces, and supporting each other beautifully. “Double Demon" begins at a fast tempo with complex and dynamic ...

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Recording

Delmark New Jazz Release on CD and LP: May Tour for Rob Mazurek's Starlicker

Delmark New Jazz Release on CD and LP: May Tour for Rob Mazurek's Starlicker

Source: Kevin Johnson

ROB MAZUREK'S STARLICKER Starlicker Double Demon (Delmark) release date May 17, 2011 The prolific Chicago/Brazil cornetist/sound manipulator Rob Mazurek of Exploding Star Orchestra and Chicago Underground collective has a new project called Starlicker with vibraphone king Jason Adasiewicz and Tortoise drummer John Herndon and they'll be touring throughout May Rob Mazurek (cornet), John Herndon (percussion), and Jason Adasiewicz (vibraphone) are deeply rooted in the Chicago and international avant garde, jazz and post rock scenes. Starlicker expel sound with pervading energy ...

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Recording

Exploding Star Orchestra - We Are All from Somewhere Else (2007)

Exploding Star Orchestra - We Are All from Somewhere Else (2007)

Source: Something Else!

By Tom Johnson Tortoise alum Rob Mazurek had a big concept behind this project. As we all know, sometimes big concepts pay off, sometimes they simply lead to big letdowns. Exploding Star Orchestra's We Are All From Somewhere Else was a big concept that luckily actually paid off. Either way, feel free to simply ignore the bizarre concept behind it and enjoy the stunning music. The concept, if you must know, goes something like this: somewhere in deep space, a ...

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Recording

Rob Mazurek - Special

Rob Mazurek - Special

Source: Michael Ricci


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Performance / Tour

Mandarin Movie with Rob Mazurek at The Five Spot in Philadelphia

Mandarin Movie with Rob Mazurek at The Five Spot in Philadelphia

Source: All About Jazz

Ars Nova Workshop presents: Sunday, November 13 | 8pm MANDARIN MOVIE + SAO PAOLO UNDERGROUND Mandarin Movie with Rob Mazurek, computer/Moog/cornet; Alan Licht, guitar; Jason Ajemian, double-bass/electronics; Frank Rosaly, drums Sao Paolo Underground with Mauricio Takara, drums/laptop; Guilherme Granado, samplers/percusion/voice; Rob Mazurek, cornet/electronics The Five Spot | 5 S.Bank Street, Philadelphia Please join us for an evening with Chicago native Rob Mazurek, best known for his collaborations with Gastr del Sol, Isotope 217, Stereolab, ...

“Rob Mazurek has spent years exploring less tangible parts of the universe, seldom seen—or heard—by others. In the process he has laid claim to a space of his own.” AAJ

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Milan

Clean Feed Records
2024

buy

Lightning Dreamers

International Anthem Recording Company
2023

buy

Good Days

Astral Spirits
2020

buy

Suite For Max Brown

International Anthem Recording Company
2020

buy

Dimensional Stardust

International Anthem/Nonesuch
2020

buy

Desert Encrypts Vol. 1

Astral Spirits
2019

buy

Videos

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