Exploding Star Orchestra Stars Have Shapes

It's always great when a band's music lives up to their name. In the case of Chicago, IL-/Sao Paulo-based trumpeter/composer Rob Mazurek's 14-piece ensemble, it does and more. From "Ascension Ghost Impression #2," the opener, intergalactic swirls of sonic colour envelope and transport the imagination. And the tune's title is apt, resonating with Trane's "Ascension" group improv vibe in a ghostly way. The band are made up of many Chicago improv heavies: Jeb Bishop (trombone), Jason Stein (bass clarinet) and Josh Abrams (bass), just to name a few. Outstanding throughout is flutist Nicole Mitchell, whose acute ear for sonority and space is never less than extraordinary. Mazurek's compositions are filled out with "electro-acoustic constructions" that drone, whirl and float, giving body and centre to "Ascension" and "Impression #1." "Chromorocker" is a seriously swinging number featuring a precise, intricate melody and solid ensemble playing. Another empowering aspect is the ringing tones of vibist Jason Adasiewicz. This is a musical galaxy with star-like clusters of luminous sound events. (Delmark)