Exposé Online banner

Rob Mazurek Octet — Skull Sessions
(Cuneiform Rune 349, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-06-26

Skull Sessions Cover artWhen I first listened to Skull Sessions' mixture of avant-jazz and electronics, I was reminded of George Russell's Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature, especially the 1968 version. So I went back to that album and refreshed my memory. By comparison, Skull Sessions (in spite of the fact that all but one of the tracks are over 13 minutes in length) sounds condensed. Electronic Sonata sprawls more, with its two 25+ minute parts, becoming almost ambient at times; Skull Sessions has fewer moments like that, though it's far from constant blasting. Mazurek's octet here consists of the leader on cornet and ring modulator (a big contributor to the retro-electronic feel); piccolo, flute, and female voice; drums; vibraphone; cavaquinho (a small guitar-like instrument) and percussion; keyboards and electronics; rabeca (a folk violin) and sax; and guitar and electronics - note the lack of a bass. Mazurek's composistions seem fairly loosely defined, with lots of room for expression and improvisation, and the players do an excellent job of not overcrowding the sound. During the improvised sections, even though it's rarely clear that anyone has a "solo," it's also not a complete free-for-all. Like good jazz players, they express themselves in such a way as to not overshadow the collective spirit, listening to each other and contributing to the success of the tune. There are some wonderful stretches where the drums and percussion groove along nicely and the other instruments slot together improvised phrases, not quite trading off, but not stepping on each other either. The intensity gradually builds up to a frenzy, which signals a change of some kind. This is really great stuff, supremely well crafted and executed, and a great entry into the ranks of adventurous jazz.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Rob Mazurek

More info
http://www.cuneiformrecords.com/bandsHTML/robmazurekoctet.html‎

Latest news

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ken Pedersen - Deja Views – Deja Views is a collection of 12 piano instrumental pieces based upon various classical themes. Many of the tracks are piano solos, and some have wind or string accompaniment. The songs list people...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues