The Squid's Ear Magazine


Mazurek, Rob & Exploding Star Orchestra: Lightning Dreamers [VINYL] (International Anthem)

Led by trumpeter Rob Mazurek with Damon Locks (Black Monuments Ensemble), Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Nicole Mitchell, Gerald Cleaver, Angelica Sanchez, Mauricio Takara and Craig Taborn, this compact version of Exploding Star Orchestra performs Mazurek's deep space and wide-ranging electric jazz compositions, including a side-long, immersive journey evoking spirits past, present and future.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Rob Mazurek-director, composer, trumpets, voice, launeddas, electronic treatments

Jeff Parker-guitar

Craig Taborn-wurlitzer, synthesizer

Angelica Sanchez-wurlitzer, piano, synthesizer

Damon Locks-voice, electronics, samplers, text

Gerald Cleaver-drums

Mauricio Takara-electronic percussion, percussion

Nicole Mitchell-flute, voice


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Vinyl LP including insert sheet of credits and liner notes and wrap-around

UPC: 789993993093

Label: International Anthem
Catalog ID: LP-IARC-0065
Squidco Product Code: 33068

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Sonic Ranch, in Tornillo, Texas, on September 23rd and 24th, 2021, by Dave Vettraino

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Lightning Dreamers is new work by composer, trumpeter, interdisciplinary abstractivist and modern music mogul Rob Mazurek, who wrote the music for a compacted version of his long-running Exploding Star Orchestra. A follow-up to the acclaimed 2020 Mazurek/ESO release Dimensional Stardust, the album features guitarist Jeff Parker, vocalist Damon Locks, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and pianists Angelica Sanchez and Craig Taborn, among others. It was recorded mostly at the remote Sonic Ranch studios in West Texas, not far from Mazurek's current home in Marfa, in the days leading up to a debut of the music at Trans Pecos festival in September 2021. Mixing and post-production was headed by Dave Vettraino from IARC studios in Chicago across 2022.

The album's opener "Future Shaman" was co-produced by Parker and features added percussion by Mazurek's longtime São Paulo Underground collaborator Mauricio Takara, as well as synth bass from Cathlene Pineda. The track finds Mazurek and ESO where they left off with Dimensional Stardust - deep in a chromatic beat fantasy of outer-space grooves and Bartok-ian riffs. Vocalist/MC Locks brings the Orson Welles via Deltron 3030 energy while Taborn and Sanchez face-off from behind Wurlitzer pianos and Moog synthesizers. On "Dream Sleeper" Locks's poetry is swirled in drifting storm clouds of fractured atmospherics, both improvised and composed. "Shape Shifter" finds Mazurek recalling a past life of Isotope 217 - not just for the swinging grooves anchored by Moog basslines, but also in that he returns to the trumpet after years of playing cornet. Once the soaring melodic theme is established the ensemble shifts into On The Corner mode, creating a mangled rhythmic base for Taborn's Wurlitzer runs and clean guitar soloing from Parker, before shapeshifting yet again under Mazurek's rising polytonal electronics as Locks's scattered vocal embellishments take us to the promised land.

The album's whole B-side is an immersive trip that spans two tracks - "Black River" and "White River" - for which Mazurek interwove takes from the Sonic Ranch sessions with live material from an expanded ESO performance recorded in February 2022 at Sons d'Hiver in Paris, France. In the liner notes for Lightning Dreamers, Mazurek writes that the music is "an evocation of a theme from the "Black River Suite," which I have been revisiting and reimagining over time."

He elaborates: "I spent 3 years of my life on the great Rio Negro in Manaus, Brazil, where the Black and White Rivers meet. It is custom and a kind of rebirthing to take a boat to the dividing/divining line of these 2 great rivers and dive into and through, as an affirmation of the simple premise (although We All Come from Somewhere Else) that we all come from the same place... the stars. The feeling of moving between and through these great bodies of water is etched in my soul forever. The visual and sonic material (both thematic and imagined) evokes the spirits past, present and future along this mighty river. The undercurrents of time, the movement of storm systems in the sky, the gentle sway of a boat moving upriver, the power and intensity when the wind decides to blow and the torrential rains fall. The sound of the electric eels below, the melodies of the inhabitants along the way, theshattering blasts from lightning in the sky. The river flows on and on and on."

Among the artists featured in the recording from Sons d'Hiver is the late jaimie branch, playing synthesizers & electronics behind the guiding trumpet improvisations of Mazurek (whom she long considered a mentor in multiple mediums). She passed away in August 2022, and her earthly absence has since imbued an otherworldly presence into the chaotic riptide of sound on "Black River." As production wrapped on the album that Fall, Mazurek was moved to present Lightning Dreamers as a dedication to branch's memory. "-International Anthem


Vinyl LP including insert sheet of credits and liner notes and wrap-around

Artist Biographies

"Rob Mazurek is an American electro-acoustic composer, cornetist, improviser and visual artist living in Chicago, Illinois. As a composer, Rob Mazurek has written over 300 original compositions over the past 30 years, and has released 55 recordings on various labels. He currently leads a number of ensembles, including Exploding Star Orchestra, Pharoah and the Underground (featuring Pharoah Sanders), Chicago Underground, Pulsar Quartet, São Paulo Underground, Skull Sessions, Sound Is Quintet, Starlicker, Mandarin Movie and Throne of the House of Good and Evil, each of which possesses its own distinct musical personality.

He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists, such as Bill Dixon, Pharoah Sanders, Mike Ladd, Roscoe Mitchell, Yusef Lateef, Fred Anderson, Naná Vasconcelos, Mamelo Sound System, Kassin and Marcelo Camelo and others. Additionally, Rob Mazurek works as a visual artist (incorporating sound, painting and video) with numerous international performances, exhibitions and artist residencies."

-Rob Mazurek Website (http://robmazurek.com/)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Jeff Parker (born April 4, 1967) is an American jazz and rock guitarist based in Los Angeles. Parker is best known as an experimental musician, working with avant-garde electronic, rock, and improvisational groups.

Parker currently plays guitar in the post-rock group Tortoise and also was a founding member of the ensembles Isotope 217 and the Chicago Underground Trio in the 1990s and early 2000s. He is also a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, as well as working with musicians George Lewis, Ernest Dawkins, Brian Blade, Joshua Redman, Fred Anderson (musician) and Jason Moran. He has released three solo albums: Like-Coping, The Relatives and Bright Light in Winter."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Parker_(musician))
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Craig Marvin Taborn (/ˈteɪˌbɔːrn/; born February 20, 1970) is an American pianist, organist, keyboardist and composer. He works solo and in bands, mostly playing various forms of jazz. He started playing piano and Moog synthesizer as an adolescent and was influenced at an early stage by a wide range of music, including by the freedom expressed in recordings of free jazz and contemporary classical music.

While at university, Taborn toured and recorded with jazz saxophonist James Carter. Taborn went on to play with numerous other musicians in electronic and acoustic settings, while also building a reputation as a solo pianist. He has a range of styles, and often adapts his playing to the nature of the instrument and the sounds that he can make it produce. His improvising, particularly for solo piano, often adopts a modular approach, in which he begins with small units of melody and rhythm and then develops them into larger forms and structures.

In 2011, Down Beat magazine chose Taborn as winner of the electric keyboard category, as well as rising star in both the piano and organ categories. By May 2016, Taborn had released six albums under his own name and appeared on more than eighty as a sideman."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Taborn)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Pianist/Composer/Educator Angelica Sanchez moved to New York from Arizona in 1994. Since moving to the East Coast Sanchez has played with such players as: Wadada Leo Smith, Paul Motian, Richard Davis, Chad Taylor, Chris Lightcap, Rob Mazurek, Vincent Chancey, Susie Ibarra, Tim Berne, Mario Pavone, Mark Dresser, Ben Monder and many more. Sanchez leads many groups including her own quintet featuring Marc Ducret, Tony Malaby, Drew Gress, and Tom Rainey. Her music has been recognized in international publications like, " Jazz Times Magazine", The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and many more. She was also the 2008 recipient of the French/American Chamber Music America grant and the 2011 Rockefellers Brothers Pocantico artist residency. Her CD "Life Between" was chosen as one of years best recording 2009 in "The New York City Jazz Record (formerly AllAboutJazz-New York)." Her debut solo CD "A Little House" was featured on NPR's Weekend Edition in May 2011. Her latest CD "Wires & Moss" featuring her Quintet was chosen as one of best Releases of 2012 in "The New York City Jazz Record (formerly AllAboutJazz-New York)." Her Duo CD "Twine Forest" with Wadada Leo Smith received Honorable Mention as a best release in 2013 in "The New York City Jazz Record." Angelica has a Master's in Arranging from William Paterson University."

-Angelica Sanchez Website (http://www.angelicasanchez.com/biopress.html)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Damon Locks is a Chicago-based visual artist, educator, vocalist, musician, and deejay. Known for decades of different projects in Chicago's underground music scenes, Locks's CV starts in the late 1980s with the band Trenchmouth (which featured Fred Armisen on drums) and is highlighted by work with The Eternals (co- led by Trenchmouth bandmate Wayne Montana), Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra, collaborations with Nicole Mitchell, Ben LaMar Gay, and many others. In recent years Locks has traversed almost every media discipline... including sound/animation work using unheard Sun Ra recordings from Experimental Sound Studio's archive (with Terri Kapsalis, Wayne Montana, and Rob Shaw); various collaborations with contemporary dancers & choreographers including Onye Ozuzu, Ayesha Jaco (of Move Me Soul), and Anna Martine Whitehead (on presentations & workshops with the Detroit Justice Center); participating in artist residencies at The New Quorum in New Orleans (alongside Nicole Mitchell, Lisa E Harris, Wadada Leo Smith, and others); teaching work with incarcerated artists for the Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project at Stateville maximum security prison; and producing album artwork for several International Anthem releases, including Makaya McCraven's Universal Beings, Irreversible Entanglements, and more."

-International Anthem (https://www.intlanthem.com/artist-bios/damon-locks)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Gerald Cleaver (born May 4, 1963) is an African-American jazz drummer from Detroit, Michigan. Cleaver's father is drummer John Cleaver Jr., originally from Springfield, Ohio, and his mother was from Greenwood, Mississippi. Gerald had six older siblings. Cleaver joined the jazz faculty at the University of Michigan in 1995. He has performed or recorded with Joe Morris, Mat Maneri, Roscoe Mitchell, Miroslav Vitous, Michael Formanek, Tomasz Sta ko, Franck Amsallem and others.

Under the name Veil of Names, Cleaver released an album called Adjust on the Fresh Sounds New Talent label in 2001. It featured Maneri, Ben Monder, Andrew Bishop, Craig Taborn and Reid Anderson and was a Best Debut Recording Nominee by the Jazz Journalists Association. Cleaver currently leads the groups Uncle June, Black Host, Violet Hour and NiMbNl as well as working as a sideman with many different artists."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Cleaver_(musician))
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Sao Paulo native Mauricio Takara, born in 1982, started playing the acoustic guitar at the age of seven. Two years later, he started playing drums. Takara played with local hard core punk bands throughout the '90s and started Hurtmold in 1998, releasing five records on the Submarine label. He put out his first solo album on Desmonta Discos in 2003 and has since released three more solo recordings on the same label, the latest bein g 2010's Sobre Todas e Qualquer Coisa . Takara has recorded with many Brazilian artists, including Nacao Zumbi, Vanessa Da Mata, Sabotage, Naná Vasconcelos and Marcelo Camelo, as well as such renowned international artists as Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, and Prefuse 73 . Besides Rob Mazurek's São Paulo Underground, Takara has also worked with such other Chicago - connected projects and artists as Exploding Star Orchestra, Jason Adasiewicz, and John Herndon . Takara has toured Europe (Sonar festi val/Barcelona, Roskilde/Denmark, Womex/Seville & Club Transmediale/Berlin), the U.S., India (World Socials Forum) and Brazil (Nublu Jazz Festival, SESC Pinheiros, and opening for Lo Borges & Milton Nascimento at Coquetel Molotov Festival). Takara is consid ered one of the leading voices in the new post - Tropicalia wave of Brazilian music."

-Cuneiform Records 4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Nicole Mitchell (b. 1967) is a creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. As the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections, Mitchell has been repeatedly awarded by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as "Top Flutist of the Year" for the last four years (2010-2014). Mitchell's music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop and African percussion through albums such as Black Unstoppable (Delmark, 2007), Awakening (Delmark, 2011), and Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler (Firehouse 12, 2008), which received commissioning support from Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works.

Mitchell formerly served as the first woman president of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and has been a member since 1995. In recognition of her impact within the Chicago music and arts education communities, she was named "Chicagoan of the Year" in 2006 by the Chicago Tribune. With her ensembles, as a featured flutist and composer, Mitchell has been a highlight at festivals and art venues throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

Ms. Mitchell is a recipient of the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts (2011) and has been commissioned by Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra and Maggio Fiorentino Chamber Orchestra (Florence, Italy). In 2009, she created Honoring Grace: Michelle Obama for the Jazz Institute of Chicago. She has been a faculty member at the Vancouver Creative Music Institute, the Sherwood Flute Institute, Banff International Jazz Workshop and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, and in magazines including Ebony, Downbeat, JazzIz, Jazz Times, Jazz Wise, and American Legacy.

Nicole MItchell is currently a Professor of Music, teaching in "Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology," (ICIT) a new and expansively-minded graduate program at the University of California, Irvine. In November 2014, ICIT was approved for the unleashing of a new MA/PhD program, which will be offered starting fall 2015. Mitchell's recent composition, Flight for Freedom for Creative Flute and Orchestra, a Tribute to Harriet Tubman, premiered with the Chicago Composers' Orchestra in December 2011 and was presented again with CCO in May 2014. She was also commisisoned by Chicago Sinfonietta for Harambee: Road to Victory, for Solo Flute, Choir and Orchestra in January 2012. Her latest commission was from the French Ministry of Culture and the Royaumont Foundation in October 2014, which supported the development and French tour of Beyond Black - a collaboration with kora master Ballake Sissoko, Black Earth Ensemble and friends. Currently Mitchell is preparing her next commission supported by the French American Jazz Exchange, entitled Moments of Fatherhood, featuring Black Earth Ensemble and the Parisian chamber group L'Ensemble Laborintus, to premiere at the Sons d'hiver Jazz Festival in late January 2015.

Among the first class of Doris Duke Artists (2012), Mitchell works to raise respect and integrity for the improvised flute, to contribute her innovative voice to the jazz legacy, and to continue the bold and exciting directions that the AACM has charted for decades. With contemporary ensembles of varying instrumentation and size (from solo to orchestra), Mitchell's mission is to celebrate the power of endless possibility by "creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar and the unknown." She is endorsed by Powell flutes."

-Nicole Mitchell Website (http://nicolemitchell.com/)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



SIDE A



1. Future Shaman 08:34

2. Dream Sleeper 06:13

3. Shape Shifter 05:23

SIDE B



1. Black River 14:10

2. White River 06:06

Related Categories of Interest:


Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic
Electro-Acoustic Improv
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Septet recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music

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International Anthem.


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