Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Short Reviews

Chicago Underground Duo - In Praise of Shadows: Trumpeter Rob Mazurek has been active on the Chicago creative music scene for quite a while now, making solo albums, collaborating with the improvisational rock band Tortoise and leading the Chicago Underground through different incarnations from duos like to orchestra. Here he collaborates with percussionist Chad Taylor, playing trumpet, cornet and also performing quite a bit on various synthesizers which a very edgy and spooky feel. Standout tracks from this CD include "Cities Without Citadels" which has Mazurek improvising on cornet over Taylor's cacophonous industrial percussion groove. "Pangea" takes the duo way out with a screeching wall of electronic sound and fury.

Paul Motian - Garden of Eden: The latest version of Motian's Electric Bebop Band features yet another killer group of young musicians, including Chris Cheek and Tony Malaby on saxophones and Ben Monder on guitar. The EBB has been a showcase for great jazz talent for years and this version is no different. The centerpieces of the disc are two covers of classic Charles Mingus compositions, the elegiac Lester Young tribute "Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat" and one of Mingus' earliest experimental compositions, "Pithecanthropus Erectus." Monder is the key to the festivities, adding beautiful texture and ambiance to the standards and originals.

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