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Marilyn Mazur’s Shamania: Marilyn Mazur’s Shamania (RareNoise)

A review of the debut album from the percussionist's new all-female 10-piece band

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Marilyn Mazur's Shamania
The cover of Marilyn Mazur’s Shamania

When she envisioned Shamania, Danish percussionist Marilyn Mazur thought of urkraft, a term from her native language that translates roughly as “primeval power” or “primitive force.” The group is made up of 10 women, all of whom are involved in the avant scene around Scandinavia. Mazur—who, among other achievements, was the only woman to play in Miles Davis’ group, during the ’80s—convened a similar group in 1978 with the Primi Band, an all-female performance outfit. She compares Shamania to a “tribal female gathering,” which draws on the urkraft and a rather ambitious musical vision.

Throughout the album, Mazur’s talents as a composer and arranger provide many nuances. The brass and saxophones often create a rich blend, complementing the foundation provided by the three percussionists (including Mazur) and drummer. Trumpeter Hildegunn Øiseth’s goat horn bridges the gap between European tradition and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. And Mazur’s “Behind Clouds” gives her a chance to showcase her whole arsenal of percussion.

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