Involving, intuitively delivered adventurous listening tumbling out here from the saltily fracturing, wired-up constantly surprising sound of the Chicago Underground, the longstanding duo of Rob Mazurek (cornet, sampler, electronics and voice) and Chad Taylor (drums, mbira and electronics) meeting down the tube, actually up the Junction at Cafe Oto in east London, in a take-no-prisoners improv meltdown in the company of pianist Alexander Hawkins and double bassist John Edwards.
Free-jazz Jim but not as we know it? Not at all. It is free – emphasis, suffix-is-to-say, on the -dom – jazz, Hawkins like Sun Ra on steroids, Edwards letting his fingers practically bleed, but then again how does anyone ever know just what free-jazz is if that term is even worthwhile any more now that Ornette and Paul Bley are gone, only Cecil Taylor left from the first protean era (spanning the years between Jazz Advance and Science Fiction), and it only stands for a period in time, as a phrase it is only as durable now no matter how dog-eared as a headline or more valuably a caption and to save wasting our time on too many words. Answers not really needed at all on a postcard because Mazurek quoted on the issuing label Cuneiform’s marketing spiel provides a few clues and a better description especially applicable to these treacherous times: “The world has become so homogenised and leans so far towards the right, and this music expresses complete freedom and lack of borders. Our music is all about the obliteration of any kind of oppression, the tearing down of any kind of wall – freedom and equality, both sonically and spiritually.” As for his thoughts on playing with the Mulatu 2: “They could go anywhere, so it was just a matter of being in the moment and letting the instincts roll. A Night Walking Through Mirrors, out now, listen, above, to a stream RECOMMENDED
One Year byTom Arthurs’ trio who will follow up by playing London and Bristol dates after release was partly inspired by the films of Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986). Flugelhornist-trumpeter composer Arthurs is with his fellow Englishman pianist Richard Fairhurst and the Finnish percussionist, Markku Ounaskari.
Arthurs writes: “I was deeply impressed by how Tarkovsky edited his masterpiece Mirror . He had no story, no plan, no storyboard. He just shot a lot of material and then, for two years, he had these clothes lines in his house and was putting together the scene into different forms until he had the movie.”
Tom, who has lived in London and Berlin in more recent years and was a BBC New Generation artist in 2008-2010, is beginning a new phase of his career in Switzerland at the Hochschule der Künste, Bern, as artistic leader of the jazz and contemporary music department.