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ALBUM REVIEWS

Nick Mazzarella Trio: Counterbalance

Read "Counterbalance" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Although he is well-accustomed to working in other settings, alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella is perhaps at his strongest in a trio format: specifically, the sax-bass-drums configuration that allows for both maximum harmonic freedom and focused rhythmic interaction. In 2017 his Meridian Trio (featuring bassist Matt Ulery and drummer Jeremy Cunningham) released Triangulum (Clean Feed), an excellent free-bop outing with razor-sharp improvisations and engaging compositions. On Counterbalance he's working with bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly. This unit goes back ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Meridian Trio: Triangulum

Read "Triangulum" reviewed by Troy Dostert

2017 is proving to be something of a breakout year for alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella. He recently released Signaling, a superb freely-improvised duo recording with cellist Tomeka Reid, and now he's followed it up with this excellent outing from the Meridian Trio, where he is joined by his colleagues Matt Ulery on bass and Jeremy Cunningham on drums. Whereas on Signaling we are given a glimpse of Mazzarella's substantial prowess as a sympathetic partner in an unstructured context, here the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nick Mazzarella and Tomeka Reid: Signaling

Read "Signaling" reviewed by Troy Dostert

On this captivating, fully-improvised duo recording by alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella and cellist Tomeka Reid, we find a superlative example of two leading-edge musicians who continue to draw vital inspiration from their forbears. Reid, a contributing member of the hugely influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), has previously paid tribute to some of the titans of that organization--figures such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell, and Fred Anderson--with Artifacts, her superb 2015 trio release with ...

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Nick Mazzarella Trio: Ultraviolet

Read "Ultraviolet" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Ultraviolet is the third album by Chicago alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella's (Ken Vandermark and The Eternals, Rob Mazurek) trio and is firmly nestled in the Windy City's progressive and free jazz domain. Go-to session ace, drummer Frank Rosaly and bassist Anton Hatwich stir the pot on numerous occasions and part of the beauty relates to the leader's synchronous melding of bop, free bop and avant expressionism into a cohesive, multilateral program. The artists get to the point ...

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Nick Mazzarella Trio: Ultraviolet

Read "Ultraviolet" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Nick Mazzarella's first trio recording Aviary in 2009, clocked in at just 30 minutes. Although brief, the compelling force of the saxophonist's presence signaled a new unblemished voice in jazz. He has gone on to become a strong presence in the Chicago jazz scene, performing with Ken Vandermark (Audio One & Chicago Reed Quartet), Rob Mazurek (Exploding Star Orchestra), Mars Williams, Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Mike Reed. As a leader, he has formed a quartet, quintet, and can be heard ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nick Mazzarella Trio: Aviary

Read "Aviary" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Saxophonist Nick Mazzarella keeps things neat and succinct on this shortish (30 minute) introductory release. Although compact, this release is quite loquacious and, perhaps, a presage of great things to come.All six compositions were penned by Mazzarella, and harken back to the early 1960s, and the rise of Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. Mazzarella, a twenty-something DePaul University graduate and Chicago resident, is a member of Green And Gold, a band dedicated to Ornette's early offsprings, Sonny Simmons ...