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Monday, November 25, 2013

Rob Mazurek - Episodes (Wapapura, 2013) ****½

By Stef

Chicago cornettist Rob Mazurek is a man of many ideas and many styles, ranging from the jazzy small ensembles over big band over "nu jazz" to radical avant-garde or more intimate solo work, and this always in a very personal and innovative way, taking the listener by surprise and creating musical experiences you'd never heard before.

And so here he does it again, with this solo album for piano and cornet duo, both played by Mazurek himself, and then please forget all the notions you have had about trumpet-piano duets, because as you might expect, this is different, even if both instruments are played purely acoustically without electronic alterations or distortions.

If anything, it does sound like his "Abstractions on Robert d'Arbrissel", with wind-chime-like piano-playing, seemingly not going anywhere, with chords and arpeggios that keep repeating endlessly, with slight variations, just like the tinkling bells in the morning breeze, full of lightness and hopeful expectations for what the day may bring. The sounds come from a distance, with the mikes set far away from the Bosendorfer grand piano itself, capturing the sounds as they resonate in the empty room. The cornet too, seems to come from far away, muted often, adding little touches and phrases to the piano's eery and relentless progression through shifting chords and spontaneously arising melodies and themes, or dark rumbling in the instrument's interior, offering a warm and intimate effect of welcoming the late-arriving listener into the room where things had already started some time before, and this late arrving listener is now waiting at a distance, probably close to the door of the perfomance room, eager to enter, and surrendering to beauty. 

Buy from Wapapura and donate to the Tarahumura Relief Fund.


Anonymous said...

Mark says...

Stef, I share your enthusiasm for all Mazurek's ventures. Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention. Sounds fascinating on first listen

Iván Moreno said...

Hello everyone .. I'm Iván Moreno .. Sound Engineer at who recorded this album in south Spain .. i just want to thank Mazurek for his music and live attitude and Free Jazz Collective for spread the word ..