Exploding Star Orchestra | Whistler | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Exploding Star Orchestra Member Picks Free Soundboard

When: Mon., Aug. 8, 10 p.m., Tue., Aug. 9, 10 p.m., Wed., Aug. 10, 10 p.m. and Thu., Aug. 11, 10 p.m. 2011

The evolutionary narrative of jazz is strung with nodal points—the Ellington Orchestra at the Cotton Club, the Thelonious Monk Quartet at the Five Spot, the Miles Davis Quintet at Chicago's Plugged Nickle—that reflect the energy generated by an ensemble when it plays the same venue night after night, a repetition that allows the musicians to reach new levels of empathy and creativity. Nowadays it's hard enough for a band, especially a big one, to play a weekend in a single place, but cornetist and electronicist Rob Mazurek and his Exploding Star Orchestra are taking the stage for four nights this week at the Whistler. It's a rare commitment both for the venue, which usually devotes one evening a week to jazz, and for the orchestra's members, many of whom lead bands of their own. Mazurek intends to take advantage of the occasion to workshop "Transgressions," a new piece featuring bass guitarist Matthew Lux. You can also expect to hear pieces from the group's next album, Sixty Three Moons of Jupiter (Delmark), recorded in Brazil with esteemed multi-instrumentalist and former Chicagoan Roscoe Mitchell. Mazurek lives part of each year in Brazil, but lately he's been homesteading in Berwyn and playing with the orchestra's musicians in smaller groups like Starlicker. It ought to be a gas to see how this extended time together in the Whistler's relaxed setting (cocktails will be shaken, and it's the shushers who will be shushed) charges their already vivid blend of recited texts and acoustic and electronic sounds. —Bill Meyer

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