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Rob Mazurek — Rome (August 25, 2017)

Rob Mazurek — Rome (August 25, 2017)

                Rob Mazurek — Rome (August 25, 2017)  Rob Mazurek — Rome (August 25, 2017)••     Electronic innovator, multi~instrumentalist and avant~garde force who worked in jazz, classical, and experimental.
••     The Exploding Star Orchestra came into being when the Chicago Cultural Center and the Jazz Institute approached cornetist and composer Rob Mazurek about putting together an avant~garde jazz ensemble for a Chicago concert.
Born: in 1965 in Jersey City, New Jersey
Genres: Jazz, Experimental, Avant~garde
Instruments: Cornet, Electronics, Piano, Boxes, Voice
Location:  Chicago, Illinois
Formed: 2005 in Chicago, IL
Album release: August 25, 2017
Record Label: Clean Feed Records
Duration:
Tracks:
1. Twombly At New Church;
2. Gazing Through Walls (Two Paintings By Caravaggio);
3. King Of Rome (For Pino Saulo);
4. Sweet Life In Disrepair (For Fellini).
Personnel:
••     Rob Mazurek cornet, piano, prepared piano, electronics.
Credits:
••     All music by Rob Mazurek OLHO (ASCAP)
••     Recorded for Rai Radiotre Suite Jazz, November 4, 2014, Rome Sala A, Centro di Produzione Radio Roma | Rai Radiotre Suite Jazz executive producer Pino Saulo | Sound engineers Domenico Narducci and Fabio Melis, assisted by Piero Belloni | Music consultant Luigi Polsini
••     Produced by Rob Mazurek | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos
••     An incredible solo record from Rob Mazurek — a wonderful change from some of his larger group and collaborative projects — even though we love those a heck of a lot too! This set’s a great reminder of the core improvisational genius that Rob’s always had, but which sometimes is overshadowed by the group activity on his other records. Here, Mazurek blows cornet alone, and also plays both standard and prepared piano — and colors things with just a dash of his great electronics — often used in more sparing and subtle ways than some of his group efforts. A really beautiful set from a musician who continues to reward us over the years — with titles that include “Twombly At New Church”, “Gazing Through Walls”, “King Of Rome”, and “Sweet Life In Disrepair”. 
© 1996~2018, Dusty Groove, Inc.
Description:
•→√•→      To date, celebrated Chicago musician Rob Mazurek’s solo endeavors have focused on his modular synthesizer and keyboard musings.
•→√•→      On “Rome,” Mazurek’s sensitivity on cornet is at the fore, but we also find him using various electronics, and seated at a piano. Here the presence of the piano is expanded. He plays it conventionally, with preparation, with direct manipulation of the piano’s interior, and as a resonator for his cornet to create ethereal, otherworldly overtones.
•→√•→      “Rome” was recorded and broadcast live for Italy’s Rai Radiotre Suite Jazz. The resulting recording captures the unique sensibilities of this master. Three decades of experimentation in creative improvisation, post~rock, noise and electronic music, and subverted world music lead Mazurek here. This refined solo recording offers listeners access to a new, distilled approach to his sound expression, which at times on this recording resembles contemporary classical music as much as any of these other disciplines. The sound, rich with raw emotion and spiritual contemplation, speaks for itself. Do not miss it.
•→√•→      Rob Mazurek is a composer, cornetist, and improviser, whose broad electro~acoustic palette defies simple categorization. His work has earned him a reputation as a respected figure in the international creative music and avant~jazz scenes. He is known for his expansive vision and vast catalog of over 350 compositions and 65 recordings. He leads and composes for projects ranging in size from solo to orchestra. His work has been featured in The Wire, DownBeat, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Review
By KARL ACKERMANN, July 18, 2017; Score: ****½
••     Rob Mazurek has long been entrenched in his eclectic, global and multi~media creative sphere making it easy for listeners to forget his musical roots. With his 1994 leader debut, Man Facing East (Hep Records), he had already shown signs of breaking with convention, particularly on the title track of that album. The electro~acoustic cornet and keyboard player and visual artist began his music career in Chicago, working his way through hard bop and progressive rock before finding his place in the avant~garde/free improvisation sub~genres. The latter forms do little justice to the unique and varied approaches that Mazurek pursues across multiple group formations. Rome, is Mazurek’s first solo outing since Vortice of the Faun (Astral Spirits, 2015), a very different, all~electronic noise album.
••     The cornet — one of many tools employed by Mazurek — has an upfront role that the artist has not extensively utilized in open playing for some time. Equal standing is given to acoustic piano and prepared piano, in contrast to Mazurek’s frequent use of electronic keyboards. He also incorporates electronics on Rome but to a lesser — and more subtle — degree than in much of his recent work.
••     Rome consists of four relatively long tracks, each being dedicated to artists of varying influences. “Twombly At New Church” refers to painter and sculptor Cy Twombly whose projects focus on cultural aspects. Mazurek’s cornet dominates the minimalist piece where haunting melody and stark silences alternate in space. “Gazing Through Walls (Two Paintings By Caravaggio)” is inspired by Michelangelo da Caravaggio, a sixteenth century Italian painter whose work influenced the Baroque period and featured the use of light to emphasize human emotion. Here, Mazurek primarily works with the piano but with subtle shadings from electronics.
••     “King Of Rome (For Pino Saulo)” refers to a well~known Italian radio producer at Radio3, and a concert promoter, dedicated to bringing the avant~garde to Italy’s jazz audiences. While Mazurek’s approach remains largely minimal on this piece, there are more of his familiar extended techniques at play. Much of the second half of the fifteen~plus minute composition is spent playing the strings inside the piano, giving the piece an exotic feel. The title says much about the nature of the closing piece, “Sweet Life In Disrepair (For Fellini).” Quirky, and by far the most abstract piece in the collection, its seventeen minutes are roughly divided between explosive brass expressions and the dark, dramatic piano that rumbles to the closing.
••     Mazurek is now widely recognized as a visual artist with multiple residencies and exhibits, so his affinity with that world and his ability to draw inspiration from the same, should be no surprise. Rome was recorded live for Rai Radiotre Suite Jazz in 2014 and it provides listeners an opportunity to hear Mazurek play in a more unadorned manner than his recent projects lend themselves to. His skills as a pianist will be an ear~opener to many recent fans as well. Rome adds yet another outstanding layer to Mazurek’s ouvre.  ••     https://www.allaboutjazz.com/
Label: http://cleanfeed-records.com/product/rome/    
Website: http://www.robmazurek.com/sounds/45/
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Rob Mazurek — Rome (August 25, 2017)

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