Rob Mazurek Pulsar Quartet Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Jan. 4, 9 p.m. and Sat., Jan. 5, 8 p.m. 2013

Lately Chicago cornetist Rob Mazurek has been working hard to create saturated sonic spaces with his various bands, churning out a huge, roiling sound with an immersive resonance. His music aims to overwhelm, whether with the ringing overtones vibist Jason Adasiewicz lays down in the trio Starlicker or with the electronics-drenched soundscapes of the latest from the Chicago Underground Duo. Stellar Pulsations (Delmark), the debut from Mazurek’s Pulsar Quartet, feels like a reconciliation of this recent work with the more straightforward jazz of his early days. Drummer John Herndon (also in Starlicker, Sound Is, and Exploding Star Orchestra) and electric bassist Matthew Lux (Sound Is, ESO) lay down knotty, visceral grooves, while the lovely ruminations of New York pianist Angelica Sanchez and Mazurek’s own cornet are firmly rooted in postbop, particularly on the album’s two ballads. Mazurek is at his most melodic here—notably his delicate, Harmon-muted lines on “Magic Saturn”—and he even brings a generous tunefulness to his blown-out flurries on the jagged, surging “Spiritual Mars.” Sanchez’s dynamic improvisations are often stormy, but her sweeping, bittersweet lyricism shines through. The entire record maintains a delicious tension—between rhythm and melody, between ethereality and heft—as if Mazurek is surveying the restless progression of his career and finding new life in ideas he ripped through too quickly the first time around. —Peter Margasak

Price: $12


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