Exposé Online banner

Marilyn Mazur's Shamania — Marilyn Mazur's Shamania
(RareNoise RNR103, 2019, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-07-07

Marilyn Mazur's Shamania Cover art

Listening to Marilyn Mazur’s Shamania is like receiving an invitation to visit a new world, one that developed along different lines than ours, where peace and positivity are as inspiring of art as conflict and pain are in ours. It’s a cliché that pain brings out great art in some people, and I won’t deny that it can be true, but it brings up a kind of moral question: Is it right for us to derive pleasure for the suffering of others, even if they are exposing that suffering willingly (and we weren’t the ones to cause it in the first place)? It’s a potentially interesting question, but it wanders far afield from what I’m here to do, which is tell readers about this fascinating album. Veteran percussionist Marilyn Mazur has assembled an ensemble of skilled players to interpret her compositions: on bass is Ellen Andrea Wang, who is known to our readers for her work with Pixel and White Willow; Makiko Hirabayashi is on piano; Lotte Anker and Sissel Vera Peterson play saxes, and Peterson also sings; brass is contributed by Lis Wessberg (trombone) and Hildegunn Øiseth (trumpet, goat horn); Mazur’s percussion is augmented by that of Lisbeth Diers and Josefine Cronholm, who also sings. All are veterans of European jazz, with dozens of credits in various jazz bands and as leaders. The voices are used as additional instruments in the arrangements rather than as merely vehicles for lyrics (though there are some lyrics here and there), further broadening the sounds available. The percussion especially is quite diverse, from tinkling bells to gongs and various kinds of hand drum as well as a drum kit. Mazur also contributes mallet instruments, notably balafon. Hirabayashi’s piano deserves special mention as well — while she does sometimes dip into jazz idioms, her playing is mostly impressionistic, with splashy flourishes of notes more like wind chimes than a piano. The vocals range from ethereal soaring to more gritty sounds with rhythmic impact. All of the horns are outstanding, both on the arranged parts and in the improvisations. The compositions include atmospheric, free-floating tunes like “Behind Clouds” and the catchy song-like “Crawl Out and Shine,” which is like modal jazz infused with a hint of African pop. Many of Mazur’s previous recordings have been released by ECM, where her abstract, impressionistic melange of sounds from around the world is right at home. Kudos to RareNoise for giving this outstanding music a home.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Ellen Andrea Wang, Marilyn Mazur

More info
http://marilynmazur.bandcamp.com/album/shamania

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Aquelarre - Brumas – South American reissues usually happen without too much fanfare, and such is the case with this, one of several albums by the 70s Argentinian band Aquelarre - yet this is one that definitely should...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues