Cornettist Rob Mazurek's new album, "Sound Is", is a winner. With two more rock-influenced musicians, John Herndon on drums and Matt Lux on electric bass, and two jazz musicians, Josh Abrams on acoustic bass and Jason Adasiewicz on vibes, he manages to create appealing unfamiliar sounds out of the familiar. Highly rhythmic, the album moves you through distant cinematic moments, low energy late night empty jazz club feelings, high energy pepped up moments, all by yourself on a rainy night kind of feelings, drive your car slowly on a sunny day kind of feeling, early sunrise wonder, enjoy the company and the world kind of moods, to what is this thing torturing my brain and what the hell is the reason of this life kind of situations, while all the time sounding somewhat familiar, but not quite. There are basically no themes, no real melodies so to speak off, but only moods, played as cool jazz, as bop, but then of the electronic age, sounding unusually modern, even without having too often recourse to electronics. At moments it sounds like a combination of Evan Lurie with Tortoise and Don Cherry, with a late fifties feeling to it. What makes the music cinematic in nature, is that there is hardly any expansion of the themes, or of the original sound arrangement : once a rhythm and pattern is established, it is kept that way throughout the relatively short pieces, with only the cornet soloing, and once in a rare while, the vibes too. That repetitive pulse and steady drive makes the music quite accessible, and also quite attractive. The pieces also start and end in a very abrupt way, as if you capture the musicians in mid-movement, with only the relevant part made public, like a snap shot of the high jumper crossing the bar. In the past years Mazurek already treated us to some fantastic recordings, taking wild risks into sonic possibilities, and this is again an absolute highlight, although of a totally different nature than the Exploding Star Orchestra or the Chicago Underground Trio or his other projects. Less expansive and ambitious than the first, more accessible than the second, more jazzy than the third, but again a brilliant piece of music.
Listen to an excerpt from "The Hill"
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