Nick Mazzarella Trio

Aug 31 - 2012
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion

After completing his studies at DePaul University in 2009 alto saxophonist and Woodridge, Illinois native Nick Mazzarella burst onto the Chicago scene with the fiery and flexible trio that he brings to the Chicago Jazz Festival this afternoon. There was no missing the influence of Ornette Coleman on the group’s first recording—particularly the leader’s bright, keening tone and the ebullient lyricism of his compositions–but on the band’s terrific follow-up This is Only a Test: Live at the Hungry Brain one can hear the reedist coming into his own. As he told the Chicago Reader in 2011, “Ornette is like a primary source. He planted his flag on something very fundamental, like Monk did, and it’s hard to get close to the territory he staked out without becoming overshadowed by or raising the ghost of the original man.”

Mazzarella has stepped out of those shadows and of late his interest in the intense spirituality of John Coltrane has added a rich new facet to his sound. When joined by bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly, the young saxophonist achieves an infectious buoyancy and vitality that’s hard to resist, full of energy, confidence, and optimism. As the great jazz critic Larry Kart has written, “He has that satisfying union of warmth/heat and continuous, logical melodic/rhythmic thought that goes right back to the beginnings of this music.”

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