Nick Mazzarella Trio | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Nick Mazzarella Trio

Nick Mazzarella Trio

Paul Crisanti

Nick Mazzarella Trio 

When: Sat., Aug. 1, 8:30 p.m. 2015
Price: $10
Alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella has become a fixture on the local jazz and improvised-music scene, leading several bands and working as a member of a bunch more. But his long-running trio with bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly has remained his most effective vehicle for improvising. Tonight’s performance celebrates the release of the unit’s third album, Ultraviolet (International Anthem), which chronicles a shift in the reedist’s sound. On the group’s previous recordings there’s no doubt that Ornette Coleman’s ebullient melodies and biting tone are primary influences, but the new record moves away from that source, instead documenting the emergence of a group sound (though Mazzarella’s adoration for John Coltrane is apparent here and there). One of the album’s most striking pieces, “Luminous Dials,” is a tender, largely composed tune that focuses on closely aligned parts from the leader and Hatwich, who together shape saxophone-like arco lines as Rosaly pitter-patters across his kit, ornamenting the action to create a delicate three-way dialogue. Most of the seven tracks are hard-driving swingers, however, and the nimble rhythm section gives Mazzarella all the space in the world as it alternately pushes and cushions his breathless streams of melodies, harmonic explosions, and singing tones. —Peter Margasak

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