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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rob Mazurek - Mother Ode (Corbett vs Dempsey, 2014) ****

By Stef

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.


Karl Ackermann said...

I purchased blindly (as I do with anything Mazurek is involved with) directly from
which appears to be the only source. It does make me wish that Mazurek would do more solo work. Even the Chicago Underground Duo is so complex (as you point out) that it rarely sounds like a duo.

Anonymous said...

Mark said...
I've just ordered from Instantjazz as this seemed the only European source.
I agree Karl, Mazurek solo is a treat and like you I also buy anything with his name on and find I'm rarely disappointed

Fergus said...

CvD stuff is easily available through Dusty Groove, which is literally downstairs from where this album was recorded. Shipping is still cheap worldwide.

Anonymous said...

Mark said...
shipping from CvsD to UK is $12 the same cost as the CD...not cheap in my book! Especially with the potential of import sales tax to be added

Anonymous said...

Mark said...apologies Fergus as I misread that your suggestion was to source from DG not CvsD. DG have a considerably cheaper shipping option (for the patient amongst us) and I'll check them out next time and regret I didn't use them this time. Still have that import tax problem though

Fergus said...

Anonymous: you Brits should consider petitioning for a free trade agreement with the Yanks. We Canadians did, and now we don't pay import tax for anything under $50! The drawbacks are few and the benefits many, I assure you.