Tag Archives: jazz

Exploding Star Orchestra

Exploding Star Orchestra – Sting Ray And The Beginning of Time Part 1

In 2005, cornetist Rob Mazurek was approached by The Chicago Cultural Center and the Jazz Institute to put together a group that would represent the more contemporary / avant-garde side of sound in Chicago for a concert in Millennium Park’s Frank Gehry-designed concert hall. The music was conceptualized/composed in Manaus Brazil, Fontevraud, France and Chicago, and developed over more than a dozen performances of the Orchestra before it was recorded by John McEntire at his Soma Studio in Chicago.

We Are All From Somewhere Else is comprised of 3 distinct sections, and corresponds to a story involving an exploding star, cosmic transformation, a sting ray, the travels of the sting ray, intelligent conversations with electric eels, the destructive power of humans, the death and ascension of sting ray, the transformation of sting ray ghost to flying bird, and the transformation of bird to phoenix to rocket to flying burning matter to a new-born star.

Says Mazurek, “I could clearly see and hear the events as a kind of animated adult/children’s story that could be presented in book or video form. In the end you have a poem text based on the original story line that is then flipped backwards to reveal another perspective on the poem. The flipped text was orchestrated by Portuguese video artist and conceptualist Joao Simoes, while I was in Lisbon making final preparations for the release of this recording.”

As the arrangements of the parts of the pieces came together it became more and more evident that Nicole Mitchell’s flutes would play a major role in the realization of the music. That said the intent of the music is not to featuring individual players (although this very well could have featured any individual in the group, as they are all very strong soloists and improvisers) it is more about the projection of a certain sound pertaining to imagination and the trajectory of the sound as movement in time and space, weaving patterns and non-patterns around and inside the idea of the poem. The overall organic approach included actual organic sounds – for example, the sounds of electric eels recorded by Mazurek at INPA research laboratory in Manaus. The juxtaposition of two drums, two basses, two mallets, multiple flutes, two cornets, bass clarinet, ARP synthesizer, guitar, trombone, voices and flugelhorn all played important roles in the development of the final sound.

The Exploding Star Orchestra is, for this recording:

Rob Mazurek – Composer, Director, Cornet, Electronics
Nicole Mitchell – Flutes, Voice
Jeb Bishop – Trombone 
Corey Wilkes – Flugelhorn
Josh Berman – Cornet
Matt Bauder – Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Jeff Parker – Guitar
Jim Baker – Piano, ARP Synthesizer, Pianette
Jason Adasiewicz – Vibraphone
John McEntire – Marimba, Tubular Bells, Edits, Recording Engineer
Matt Lux – Electric Bass Guitar
Jason Ajemian – Acoustic Bass
Mike Reed – Drums, Percussion, Saw
John Herndon – Drums

All compositions, arrangements, text and concepts are by Rob Mazurek 


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R. Crumb: The Complete Record Cover Collection

R. Crumb: The Complete Record Cover Collection is the collective album cover works of underground comics pioneer, Robert Crumb. Publisher W.W. Norton & Company describes the hardcover book as “a landmark work that pays splendid homage to a forgotten era of seminal American music”.

Robert Crumb first began drawing record covers in 1968 when Janis Joplin, a fellow Haight Ashbury denizen, asked him to provide a cover for her album Cheap Thrills. It was an invitation the budding artist couldn’t resist, especially since he had been fascinated with record covers-particularly for the legendary jazz, country, and old-time blues music of the 1920s and 1930s-since he was a teen. This early collaboration proved so successful that Crumb went on to draw hundreds of record covers for both new artists and largely forgotten masters. So remarkable were Crumb’s artistic interpretations of these old 78 rpm singles that the art itself proved influential in their rediscovery in the 1960s and 1970s. Including such classics as Truckin’ My Blues Away, Harmonica Blues, and Please Warm My Weiner, Crumb’s opus also features more recent covers done for CDs.

via Laughing Squid


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At its essence, great animation is a beautiful marriage of image and sound. And few have done that better than the Canadian Michel Gagné with his monumental animation, Sensology. The film is a feast for the senses—a combination of improvised music and abstract animation 

via Short of the Week

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Derby Blue

by shiko | derby blue

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Art Ensemble of Chicago


Art Ensemble of Chicago

Here is a funky jazz gem from Art Ensemble Of Chicago titled “Funky AECO“. This track represents one of the more funkier songs written by the group, who is usually more know for their avant-garde free jazz compositions. The funky groove oriented track was included on the group’s 1985 album The Third Decade , which was released by ECM Records. The album features founding members Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Famoudou Don Moye, and Malachi Favors who is responsible for the tracks heavy bass groove. Overall, the track represents a different side to one of jazz music’s most notable and accomplished avant-garde ensembles.  

Related Posts

via American Athlete *


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Jazzmobile guy


Jazzmobile guy

The Jazzmobile – The Billy Taylor Quintet – 1977

Frank Wess, Jimmy Owens, Freddie Waits & the Jazzmobile Guy

by Tom Marcello 

hat tip: Analog Burners 

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Straight, No Chaser


The story behind ‘Straight, No Chaser’ began in West Germany in 1967 and ended more than two decades later in Kansas City, Hollywood and New York. It had its beginnings in 1967, when the film-maker Michael Blackwood was commissioned by West German Television to make a film about Thelonious Monk. Over a six-month period of time that stretched into 1968, Michael and his brother Christian Blackwood, acting as cinematographer and co-director, followed Monk around, capturing him on and offstage, in the studio and on the road, at work and at rest in New York, Atlanta and several European cities.

In total, fourteen hours of film was shot and edited by the Blackwoods down to a film that was broadcast only once in Germany and never again anywhere else. From time to time, talk would surface in the jazz community about the existence of this precious footage, often described as ‘the Dead Sea Scrolls of Jazz’.

In 1981 the Blackwoods, joined with director Zwerin and producer Ricker, planned on turning all this material into a film. But they had to wait until 1987 for their (financial) breakthrough. Clint Eastwood, a lifelong jazz fan, was producing and directing the movie ‘Bird’ about Charlie Parker and heard about this project.  After viewing the samples, he was prepared to step in as executive producer, arranging for the financing to complete and for its eventual release through Warner Bros in the summer of 1988.

Charlotte Zwerin – Director
Clint Eastwood – Producer 
Dick Hyman – Composer (Music Score) 
Christian Blackwood – Cinematographer 
Rudy Van Gelder – Sound Design

Photo: Lawrence Shustak

Previous posts featuring Thelonious Monk

via jazzpages

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