Rob Mazurek & Black Cube SP — Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost
(Cuneiform Rune 399, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-02-07Musicians often use their art as a way to process the events of their lives, to turn hardship and pain (as well as joy and hope and love) into something beautiful, or at least useful, in dealing with what the world throws at us. As listeners, we may be aware of the happenings that generated the art, or we may not — either way, we can partake in the product of those emotions, bringing to our processing all the events of our own lives, which may be radically different than the artist's. Cornetist and composer Rob Mazurek wrote and recorded this music in response to his mother's death, and he regards it as "modern spiritual" music, infused with a spirit rather like a ritual of passing, and even listeners who are unaware of the music's genesis should be able to feel the intensity, converting it into whatever kind of ritual is needed in their own lives. This ritual is expansively eclectic, melding ancient Brazilian instruments with electonics, and is infused with what I think of as the true spirit of jazz: seeking out sounds that come from one mind and can touch others, drawing from a well of creativity comprised of both planning and spontaneity. Miles Davis's electric music may have been constructed artificially by assembling recordings into pieces; Mazurek's music in some ways achieves similar results by ways of live playing, with the kinds of electronics that are available today substituting for the editing of yesteryear. Black Cube SP features drummer Mauricio Takara and keyboardist Guihelrme Granado (both of whom have worked with Mazurek in São Paulo Underground), along with Thomas Rohrer, Rogério Martins, and Rodrigo Brandão, who contribute a wide variety of instruments to the mix, along with vocals. The electronics take the music into seldom-charted (at least in jazz) realms of sound, where distortion and feedback vie with expansive resonance and reverberation to bring the natural and the artificial into accord. Come, ye explorers, and pierce the veil between worlds.
Related artist(s): Rob Mazurek
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
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
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more