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Spiral Mercury - Chicago/Sao Paulo Underground featuring Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah & The Underground

Glenn Astarita By

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Renowned tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and new music, jazz-centric pioneer, cornetist Rob Mazurek bridge alternate generations of avant-gard-isms with this highly persuasive and indubitably, audacious production. It's an electro-acoustic meeting of futuristic minds, intersecting the trumpeter's Sao Paulo Underground and Chicago Underground ensembles. Moreover, they yield intergalactic nods to classic space rock via Guilherme Granado's inventive electronics, synths and samples permutations along with Matthew Lux's pumped up bass lines and Chad Taylor's sweeping drums patterns amid several distinctive indicators throughout.

Several movements are modeled with blustery flights of fancy, complemented and expounded upon by Sanders and Mazurek's flourishing wind tunnels of sound and sizzling improvisational exchanges. On "Spiral Mercury" the band imparts a thrusting gait, abetted by Taylor's topsy-turvy Latin pulse, spearheading a Mile Davis, Bitches Brew era uplift. Here, Sanders' deep notes and garrulous phrasings are paced by an electric guitar sample, emulating terse chords within a deterministic groove. They mix it up as the frontline generates gritty plaintive cries. However, Granado's grizzly electric piano lines hearken back to old school jazz fusion, yet the musicians intersperse a sense of antiquity into various passages, executed within asymmetrical cadences and frothy breakouts. It's all countered by Mazurek's blast-furnace type delivery and booming sojourns with Sanders.

Mazurek injects variety into the program, where existential-like minimalism, quiet electronics effects and subdued horn parts, are shaded by faint cymbals swashes and trippy choruses on "Asasumamehn." Elsewhere the band merges contrasting layers, disparate textures, ungodly shadings and more than enough excitement to sustain interest from beginning to end. The album is counterbalanced by an amalgamation of subtle oddities that outline the ensemble's unmistakably detectable watermark that vaults the jazz genre into parts unknown.

Track Listing: Cna Toom; Spiral Mercury; Blue Sparks From Her; Asasumamehn; Pigeon; Jagoda’s Dream; The Ghost Zoo.

Personnel: Pharoah Sanders: tenor saxophone, voice; Rob Mazurek: cornet, electronics, flute, voice; Guilherme Granado: synths, samples, percussion, voice; Mauricio Takara: cavaquinho, percussion, electronics; Matthew Lux: electric bass; Chad Taylor: drums, mbira.

Title: Pharoah & The Underground | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


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