Rob Mazurek is the king of complexity, an artist who can make the most amazing arrangements for his Exploding Star Orchestra, or the most layered compositions for his Chicago Underground and São Paulo Underground ensembles, or for projects such as his Skull Sessions Octet, Starlicker and Pulsar Quartet. But then at times he appears to feel the need to to the exact opposite, to reduce his music to the most simple format: solo improvisations.
Everything that is superfluous is stripped from the music. You get solo trumpet, solo flute, solo percussion. An individual baring his soul without adornments, stripping away everything that may even be considered as entertainment, for a pure and authentic delivery of personal emotions.
This beautiful album gives us a performance by Mazurek at the Corbett vs Dempsey Gallery in Chicago, a few months after his mother passed away. The musician showed up with his cornet, but also with flutes, bells, books, maracas, apples and little electronics.
It may sound sentimental, and it is, but in the best possible sense. It is a genuine and heartfelt ode to his mother. The great thing is that Mazurek keeps the intensity throughout the album, offering variation, melancholy and sad moments, but also outbursts of joy and contemplation.
The last track is a trumpet solo that gets increasingly submerged into a deep electronic drone, one that swallows all the beauty, and the clarity, and the purity of the trumpet into a merciless miasma of despair and desolation.
A very strong album.
Available from Instantjazz.