184

Robert Mazurek: Playground

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
This is an interesting and varied session, one for which chief planner Rob Mazurek deserves no less than a solid "e" for effort. Mazurek, whose main ax is cornet, has plowed under his hard-boppin' roots and started afresh on a Playground that more closely conforms to his evolving musical perspective. Mazurek is accompanied on the odyssey by his Chicago Underground Orchestra, whose members double (or triple) to help provide the proper ambiance. In making the turnaround Mazurek has abandoned neither melody, harmony nor rhythm, and the band's hard-bop origins can also be discerned from time to time (as on guitarist Parker's neo-'60s charts, "Components Changes," "Jeff's New Idea" and "Whitney"). Mazurek, who wrote five of the tunes, seems more concerned with form and color than he is with splash or bombast. It's a trait that serves him well, as each of his compositions - including the waggish title selection - embodies enough engaging twists to assure one's heedfulness. Throughout, Rob and the band shrewdly employ uncommon elements - the sound of a glockenspiel or bamboo flute, for example - to accentuate their singular point of view. Everyone is on the same page, and those who fancy Jazz that veers slightly off the beaten path without self-indulgent cerebralism should find this picturesque Playground well-suited to whatever musical byways they might care to pursue.

Track Listing: Blow Up, Flamingos Dancing on Luminescent Moonbeams, Boiled Over, Le Sucrier Velours, Components Changes, Playground, Jeff's New Idea, The Inner Soul of H, Whitney, Ostinato (68:06).

Personnel: Robert Mazurek, cornet, bell, bamboo flute, toy trumpet; Jeff Parker, guitar, cowbell, recorder; Sara P. Smith, trombone, glockenspiel, recorder, muffin tin, voice, cymbals; Chris Lopes, bass, India flute, voice; Chad Taylor, drums, street sign; Johnny Herndon, bongos (on Blow Up); Dan Bitney, congas (on Blow Up).

Title: Playground | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Delmark Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Jambú" CD/LP/Track Review Jambú
by Joe Gatto
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Vit" CD/LP/Track Review Vit
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Expansions  Live" CD/LP/Track Review Expansions Live
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Walk Against Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Walk Against Wind
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Anybody's Spring" CD/LP/Track Review Anybody's Spring
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.