All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

10

Nick Mazzarella and Tomeka Reid: Signaling

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
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 Nicole Mitchell and Mike Reed. Mazzarella, whose work has included stints with Ken Vandermark's Chicago Reed Quartet and Audio One projects, has similarly acknowledged his debt to pivotal altoists such as Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, and Julius Hemphill. Indeed, from the opening track of Signaling, "Blues for Julius and Abdul," their dedicatory homage to Hemphill and his long-standing musical partner, cellist Abdul Wadud, it's clear that Mazzarella and Reid have immersed themselves in the waters of 1970s and 1980s avant-garde jazz. The results are invigorating and inspiring.

Both players have impeccable technique: Reid is equally proficient at stirring arco phrases and dynamic pizzicato attacks, while Mazzarella can deliver frenzied upper-register passages at astonishing speed. But on this release it's the melodic contours of their playing that really stand out. Listening to Mazzarella's yearning phrases on "Blues for Julius and Abdul," one is reminded of Hemphill's own steadfast dedication to melody and groove—an enduring feature of even his most outward-bound playing. Even when pushing himself to the limit, as on the impassioned, rapid-fire dialogue on "Interstices," or his strenuous overblowing on "Rediscovery of an Age," Mazzarella's strong musical core is never far from the surface.

Reid brings the same sensibility to her playing throughout the record. With exceptional command over her instrument, her generosity enables her to sustain the rapport that characterizes the most transcendent tracks on the record, like the mysterious, pulsing "Like So Many Drops of Water," or "Invoking a Spirit," the ethereal closer. Just listen to the spare accompaniment she provides on the hypnotic "The Ancestors Speak": as Mazzarella teases out agonizingly slow, languorous notes, Reid's understated yet insistent pizzicato offers the perfect support, helping to build a gradual intensity until the piece reaches its culmination and Mazzarella's alto finally diminishes and subsides.

It is a delight to hear the spirit of the some of the most formative years of avant-garde jazz advanced with such skill and reverence by these two outstanding improvisers. Both do justice to their musical forerunners' legacy with music that is both beautiful and expertly played.

Track Listing: 1. Blues for Julius and Abdul; 2. Signaling; 3. Like So Many Drops of Water; 4. Interstices; 5. The Ancestors Speak; 6. Topographies; 7. Rediscovery of an Age; 8. Let It Be Known; 9. Invoking a Spirit.

Personnel: Nick Mazzarella – alto saxophone; Tomeka Reid – cello.

Title: Signaling | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Nessa Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Signaling

Signaling

Nessa Records
2017

buy
Triangulum

Triangulum

Clean Feed Records
2017

buy
Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet

International Anthem Recording Company
2015

buy
Aviary

Aviary

Self Produced
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Piano Works CD/LP/Track Review
Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Throw Tomatoes CD/LP/Track Review
Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Reflections 2 CD/LP/Track Review
Reflections 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Kalamazoo" CD/LP/Track Review Kalamazoo
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Lucus" CD/LP/Track Review Lucus
by Don Phipps
Published: January 25, 2018
Read "Color Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Color Tones
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Another Place, Another Time" CD/LP/Track Review Another Place, Another Time
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Lessons Lyrical" CD/LP/Track Review Lessons Lyrical
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 12, 2018
Read "Unleashed" CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018