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Rob Mazurek: Rome (Clean Feed)

Review of solo album from Chicago-based cornetist and bandleader

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Cover of Rob Mazurek album Rome
Cover of Rob Mazurek album Rome

Rome is the rare Rob Mazurek album that you could play in the summer with your windows open. It is less likely than most of his music to drive your neighbors to homicidal rage. Mazurek usually plays in small, deafening ensembles. On Rome, his ensemble is the smallest possible: himself. Alone with his cornet, a piano and electronics, he is feeling mellow. Relatively.

Three of the four tracks are inspired by artists in other media. The first, “Twombly at New Church,” for painter and sculptor Cy Twombly, has flaring, piercing cornet outbreaks, made dramatic by the dark silences between them. Precisely because you never know what Mazurek will do next, it is thrilling when he discovers lines of arcane beauty. The second is “Gazing Through Walls (Two Paintings by Caravaggio).” It is primarily a piano piece, augmented with subtle, selective electronics. (“Subtle” and “selective” are adjectives not often applied to Mazurek.) He does not exactly “play” the piano; he uses it to paint sonic color and mood. “Gazing Through Walls” is an intriguingly mysterious atmosphere.

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