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Rob Mazurek Pulsar Quartet: Stellar Pulsations

Jerry D'Souza By

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Cornetist Rob Mazurek creates a liquid and volatile flow of time and space in his configuration of the planets, after which he names the compositions on this CD. Each has an attribute described by the arc of his imagination, bringing in distinctive structures and moulds. The band, drawn from the larger context of his Exploding Star Orchestra, gives the music a raw and resplendent energy.

The quartet jumps into "Primitive Jupiter," with Mazurek and drummer John Herndon setting up the shifting sands of time. Mazurek weaves his lines into inventive strands, trimming the melody with flurries that escarp the expected and the predictable; his launch into hardier terrain is authoritative and his execution top-notch. Angelica Sanchez ushers in radiant rays of light, her flex on the piano showing a finely honed sense for the lyrical.

Sanchez floats into the compelling "Magic Saturn," before Mazurek finds its soul harkening into the melody with grace and majesty. He continues to reflect thought and clarity letting the tune simmer in its beauty as Sanchez complements him with deep feeling.

The band's versatility is evident as it traverse a number of styles. "Spanish Venus" has an underlying Spanish rhythm set into motion by Herndon and bassist Matthew Lux. Mazurek's evocative playing sparks this exquisite ballad, as he emphasizes the melody and adds just that little bit of distortion to make the journey more organic.

By the time it gets to "Folk Song Neptune," the Pulsar Quartet has etched its credentials as an exceptional group that can pay homage to a melody and then flesh it out with spontaneous improvisation. It's another mellow outing cast in the luminous warmth of Mazurek's cornet; quite simply, it is stunning. But, by now, this has come to be expected from Mazurek and his group.

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