Chicago Underground Trio

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Cornet player Rob Mazurek bears allegiance to icons like Don Cherry and Lester Bowie as a player, but as a bandleader he's all over the map, from AACM free jazz to progressive funky rhythms, John Cage's indeterminate music, Ornette Coleman's approximate concept, and electronic pioneers such as Morton Feldman or Richard Teitlebaum. With bassist Noel Kupersmith and percussionist Chad Taylor, the trio weaves in and out of improvisations and written passages quite effectively and holds a certain degree of interest if one pays close attention. There are several snippets of musical ideas, like short sentence statements. "O Balanco" is a 6/8 Vietnamese marimba (by Mazurek) and bass workout; "Passaros" is a melodic march drums with brushes/cornet-bass staccato figure; "O Sino" is a bells, vibes, and bowed bass spirit improv; "LMNO" is a deft bass solo; "Energia" a stop-start free romp; "Munir e Salete" is a 6/8 marimba with march drum processional; "Arthur Na Igreja" featuring Mazurek's hymnal organ solo; and "Leonardo" is a free bop ostinato bass with vibe shard. The other extreme is the 14-minute "Into Another You" as free-wailing organ from fourth wheel Jeff Parker sets up pulsing bass with Mazurek's personalized cornet musings, late night jungle sounds, minimal 6/8 ostinato (a preference reference), and Carla Bley-type free-style ramble. There are a free bopper "Nude Anthem," arco bass and bell informed, "Lonely Woman" like "The Enormous Room," soul waltz "Pisces," and spatial improv "La Jetee" with cymbal washes and bass inserts. At their most incongruous, C.U.T. goes from 7/4 ostinato groove with the leader's clarion brass call outs to sudden free-space electronically washed crickets and back. Cat sirens and organ oscillations from Parker and Mazurek clearly focus "Teletransportation Unit 3" while quiet rattles and ethnic percussion shade the Mid-Eastern flavored "Future Ancestors." Parker's guitar with the others discourse patiently on the concise spontaneous composition "Shaw Town." This second recording from the Trio shows no lack of imagination or resolve, though the pure musical content might leave some creative music listeners wanting for the third, hopefully breakthrough effort that must come from these talented, challenged sonic explorers.

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