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Rob Mazurek Octet: Skull Sessions

Glenn Astarita By
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Track review of "Skull Caves of Alderon"

Rob Mazurek Octet: Skull Sessions Chicago-based cornetist Rob Mazurek has performed with the best and brightest of the new jazz music scene. On this outing he merges his Sao Paulo Underground and Starlicker bands and invites other artists, capturing the essence of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew era. Mazurek frames Davis' jazz-fusion attributes as a fertile means of reimagining the overall vibe from a modernist's perspective. Fueled by diesel engine-like power, the band layers radiant colors with throttling pulses and numerous contrasts via swirling riffs, memorable horn choruses, and a boundary-less methodology.

"Skull Caves of Alderon" is one of four pieces spanning over ten-minutes in length. Here, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz kicks it off with an extended, topsy-turvy solo spot and preambles drummer John Herndon's bustling rock pulse, offering an invitation for the remaining group members to chime in. As Mazurek, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and C-melody saxophonist Thomas Rohrer blaze forth with jaunty, circular horn passages.

The band incorporates electronics into the schema but doesn't burn the roast, so to speak. Tasteful, yet used for backwashes, and off-center treatments, the electronic element is just one component of a polygonal paradigm. Mitchell briefly integrates a Brazilian motif into the schema and the musicians coalesce with energetic aplomb. Moving forward, Mazurek locks in with the soloists and soars to a zenith, effectuating a tour de force epic, bristling with fervent momentum and inspiring dialogues. Thus, an entrancing showcase, instilled with theatrical attributes and a highly entertaining form-factor.


Track Listing: Track #1; Track #2; Track #3.

Personnel: Rob Mazurek: cornet, ring modulator; Nicole Mitchell: piccolo, flute, voice; John Herndon: drums; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Mauricio Takara: cavaquinho, percussion; Guilherme Granado: keyboards, electronics; Thomas Rohrer: rabeca, C melody saxophone; Carlos Issa: guitar, electronics.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Modern Jazz


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