artist profile

Composer, improviser and multi-media artist Rob Mazurek has drawn inspiration from a multitude of audio and visual styles and sources over the past three decades

Originally rooted in the tradition of hard bop jazz, prolific cornetist and visual artist Rob Mazurek developed into one of the most consistently exciting pure improvisers of his time. As a founding member of the multifaceted Chicago Underground collective, the creator and creative director of Exploding Star Orchestra (that also counts Nicole Mitchell and Matt Bauder among its members), large group and the 21st century fusion outfit Isotope 217, the vanguard futurist international ensemble São Paulo Underground, and a dozen other projects, his playing, theoretics, and composing have redefined musical boundaries through vibrant sonic palettes that defy categorization. Beginning his recording career as a leader with Eric Alexander on Badlands in 1995, Mazurek hasn’t been idle since. His provocative recordings with Chicago Underground Trio, Duo, Quartet, and Orchestra set a new bar for the balance of conceptual improvisation and modern composition, and have provided ground for his many explorations. Likewise, Silver Spines (a 2002 solo cornet recording regarded as a masterpiece of vanguard jazz), his Exploding Star Orchestra collaborations with Bill Dixon and Roscoe Mitchell, and his wildly experimental dates on International Anthem — Alternate Moon Cycles (2014) and Alien Flower Sutra with Emmett Kelly (2016) — have integrated Mazurek’s many creative directions.