Rob Mazurek Quintet’s hypnotic, diverse Sound Is rewarded close listens

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Rob Mazurek had been been making records for 15 years when he released Sound is March of 2009, having also organized the improvisational Chicago Underground in its various configurations and serving as a member of the fusion outfit Isotope 217. He has also started ensembles in his adopted home town of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The then-newly formed Rob Mazurek Quintet featured Jason Adasiewicz along with Matt Lux on electric bass, Josh Abrams on acoustic bass and piano, and John Herndon on drums and percussion. Mazurek, Herndon and Lux had served as bandmates in Isotope 217, and Herndon was also the drummer for post-rock giants Tortoise. All of which demonstrates the level of cross-pollination that goes on in the Windy City.

Sound Is wasn’t radically different from John Berman’s 2009 release Old Idea, which also featured Adasiewicz, but closer listens revealed a greater diversity. Sometimes there was a clearly devised melody, as in “The Dream Rocker”; other times, there was not, as in “As If An Angel Fell From The Sky.” Furthermore, Rob Mazurek’s cornet was no carbon copy of Berman’s, either. Mazurek played his notes in a more muted, precise fashion.

Stuffed with 14 tracks, Sound Is had highlights aplenty but the hypnotic groove of “The Earthquake Tree” and odd sonic beauty of “The Star Splitter” were among the best. The Rob Mazurek Quintet’s Sound Is remains a treat for those with big, open ears.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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