Rob Mazurek has been relentless in his musical charge through the 21st century, from his large ensemble Exploding Star Orchestra to His Chicago Underground duos with drummer Chad Taylor. He combines the latter in this London live document with master bassist John Edwards and the prolific and sought after pianist, composer and bandleader Alexander Hawkins.
There are some amazing moments in this set, including some very tasteful improvisations over a driving electro loop backdrop in "Boss Redux." Mazurek combines blistering shards of notes with his admirable penchant for clear melodic lines, while Chad Taylor's drumming is clearly the finely tuned and controlled engine of the group.
Edwards brings just about everything to play, from rhythmic bass line work to scrapes and whistles from the bow, while Hawkins masterfully moves from point position to harmonically pushing the band with vast fields of pianoisms.
But when musical mastery is a given, the result always becomes a question of form and content, where content is the field of virtuosity. The form here is pretty much your standard slabs of free improve, with the ebb and flow of ideas and their transfigurations. Elsewhere, the band evoke the Art Ensemble of Chicago, without the added weight of the two reeds and the palette of small instruments.
A Night Walking Through Mirrors is at once well executed and somewhat nostalgic. (Cuneiform)