Rob Mazurek / Chicago Underground Orchestra


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A revelation. Cornetist Mazurek and his Chicago Underground Orchestra -- here consisting of guitarist Jeff Parker (from Tortoise), trombonist Sara P. Smith, bassist Chris Lopes, and drummer Chad Taylor -- create some of the freshest sounds of late-'90s jazz. Mazurek and Parker's original tunes have the loose improvisatory feel of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock's late-'60s compositions, giving soloists free reign to strut their stuff. The two cover tunes -- Hancock's "Blow Up" and Duke Ellington's "Le Sucrier Velours" -- sound right at home here, with the first treated to a driving, percussive workout, while the latter floats along at a more meditative pace. Imaginative use of instrumental colors and combinations prevail throughout the album. Mazurek's playing on the drifting "Inner Soul of H" has that vulnerable purity that Miles Davis exhibited on his In a Silent Way sessions. High praise.

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