98

Exploding Star Orchestra: Stars Have Shapes

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Exploding Star Orchestra: Stars Have Shapes
This release by the Exploding Star Orchestra is one of those rare examples of a present day unit able to travel to other places. Under the direction of cornet player and composer Rob Mazurek they've come up with a program of music which incorporates advances outside of the jazz tradition even while it strikes an extraordinary balance between established precedents and developments still in the process of fruition.

Thus the collective voices on "Ascension Ghost Impression #2" are notable for the degree to which individual ego is negated in favor of group identity. Indeed the maelstrom of the first nine minutes of the piece is settled calmly, almost wanly in a passage of limpid beauty before the former reasserts itself and the electro-acoustic constructions Mazurek is credited with come into their own. The work of drummers Mike Reed and John Herndon ensures that the music at this point isn't lacking momentum, but again the entirely unselfconscious avoidance of the obvious ensures that when things pan out again it's in a tranquil direction, shot through with unease. Indeed that's underscored by agitation, as if the musicians are acutely aware and appreciative of the implications of fashioning spontaneous form.

Set against this the galumphing quality of "ChromoRocker" highlights how Mazurek leaves himself open to any and perhaps all positive influences. The quality of funk—shot through with a contrarily limpid quality—ensures that the music remains resolutely earthbound for all of vibes player Jason Adasiewicz's sleight of hand.

"Three Blocks of Light" is the place where balance is the key, especially so given the fact that the music settles down to become an embellished hypnotic drone before it concludes. Flautist Nicole Mitchelll's contribution at this point is a statement of what she can do in a setting as rarefied as this, where the balance between elements improvised and composed results in music both meditative and unsettling.

"Impression #1" closes things out and it is in essence a summary of what's gone before, albeit a summary notable for its own reflective air, balanced against a measure of agitation in the form of Greg Ward on alto sax. But as with the rest of this program a simple description of proceedings does little to address the totality of the music, which is something else besides being one beautifully realized program.

Track Listing

Ascension Ghost Impression #2; ChromoRocker; Three Blocks of Light; Impression #1.

Personnel

Rob Mazurek: cornet, director, composer, electro-acoustic constructions; Nicole Mitchell: flutes, voice; Matthew Bauder: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Jason Stein: bass clarinet; Greg Ward: alto saxophone; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Matthew Lux: bass guitar; Josh Abrams: bass; John Herndon: drums; Mike Reed: drums; Carrie Biolo: gongs, vibes, percussion; Jeff Kowalkowski: piano; Damon Locks: word rocker.

Album information

Title: Stars Have Shapes | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Delmark Records

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Light In The World
Light In The World
Nocturnal Four
Read A Time And A Place
A Time And A Place
Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language
Read Mayan Suite
Mayan Suite
Brian Andres
Read When You Find It
When You Find It
Arthur White and Merge
Read Rainbow Baby
Rainbow Baby
Cathlene Pineda
Read An Open Dialogue
An Open Dialogue
Linda Sikhakhane

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.