13 Exploding Star Orchestra, We Are All From Somewhere Else
The aforementioned Rob Mazurek quit the
It’s avant-big band music; think a less carnivalesque, less Ellington-obsessed version of Mingus Ah Um, or a not-quite-so academic-sounding Jazz in the Space Age. We Are All… overflows with vibes, synthesizers, strings, horns, and yes, electric eels (they sound like electronically tweaked strings). It is, frankly, hard to describe, but it is brash, joyous, exuberant, exciting, soothing, and redolent of salt and wind, waves and sun. It sounds like the Black & White Ball being held at the Shedd Aquarium. And what’s really surprising, given the roster of improv scenesters on hand, is that the standout performance is delivered by flutist Nicole Mitchell. And the eels, obviously.
12 Chromatics, Night Drive / In the City 12” / Various Artists, After Dark
Chilly, aloof and spare: this is Italo-Disco, an unlikely candidate for a resurgence, and yet here is New Jersey-based label Italians Do It Better doing just that. Chromatics hail from the Pacific Northwest, but they might as well have come up in the streets of