Last Call April Label Spotlight: Cuneiform Records

Apr 27, 2013

Cuneiform Records has just released a new batch of adventuresome jazz discs. Their usual high standard of creative brilliance continues with a number of fine recordings, most notably The Rob Mazurek Octet's  Skull Sessions.

The 17 minute piece that begins the date, Galactic Ice Skeleton, is an explosive tour de force that features Rob Mazurek's cornet with Jason Adasiewicz on vibes, Nicole Mitchell on flute,    Guilherme Granado on keyboards and electronics, Carlos Issa on guitar and electronics, Mauricio Takara on percussion and cavaquinho (Brazilian ukulele),  Thomas Rohrer on C melody saxophone and rabeca (a rustic Brazilian viola associated with the northeast). Making a huge contribution here is drummer John Herndon whose explosive drum kit drives the band forward, relentlessly.  Rob Mazurek's reputation as one of the boldest explorers of the frontiers of jazz is further cemented by this remarkable session. Mazurek, as part of the Chicago Underground Duo, performed in Omaha several years ago at the Bemis Underground. The evening was a profound, cosmic experience of music beyond category. The present volume is another demonstration of Mazurek's brilliant artistry.    

Other new Cuneiform Records include New York Trombonist/guitarist Curtis Hasselbring's Number Stations. Inspired by the existence of mysterious coded messages heard from time to time on shortwave radio stations,  Hasselbring leads an ensemble which explores a bold program of music that resembles Charles Mingus and the Mothers of Invention in adventuresome spirit. Ttrombonist/composer Curtis Hasselbring leads an all-star septet which features these major players: Mary Halvorson (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass), Matt Moran (vibes and marimba) and Chris Speed (tenor sax and clarinet), both of The Claudia Quintet, and dual drummers Ches Smith and Satoshi Takeishi.

Other new releases on Cuneiform Records include Los Angeles drummer Dylan Ryan and his Sand trio for Sky Bleached.  Ryan is best known as the catalyst behind the progressive jazz sextet  Herculaneum. Ryan is a bandstand veteran. He is joined by Tim Young, a much in demand guitarist  and bassist Devin Hoff, who has worked with the Nels Cline Singers.    

Also of note is the debut of The  Kandinsky Effect, billed as a jazz power trio for the 21st century. Based in New York City and Paris,  the band features Warren Walker on saxophone and electronics, Gaël Petrina on bass and electronics and Caleb Dolister on drums and laptop. They have just release a roller coaster ride of a debut disc,  Synesthesia.

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