Marilyn Mazur: Celestial Circle (ECM 2228)

Celestial Circle

Marilyn Mazur
Celestial Circle

Marilyn Mazur drums, percussion, voice
John Taylor piano
Josefine Cronholm voice
Anders Jormin double-bass
Recorded December 2010 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Under the guidance of percussionist Marilyn Mazur, Celestial Circle cinches a wealth of continental influences by resonances and rivers. The group is trio-plus, with pianist John Taylor and bassist Anders Jormin forming the core unit and Swedish jazz vocalist Josefine Cronholm pouring her magic at selective intervals. Of the latter, “Your Eyes” (with words by Cronholm and music by Taylor) and the Mazur original “Antilope Arabesque” feature straight-from-the-heart singing and cinematic atmospheres. Both paint acres of forest, through which Jormin dances and Mazur adds characteristic splashes as she plays among, around, and through her bandmates. Confirming the arboreal theme, “Among The Trees” (another Mazur original) imagines a landscape of swans and sunlight. Wordless vocals linger here and there, stretching canvas for Taylor’s brushwork in “Temple Chorus,” cradling the ritual punctuations of “Drumrite,” and scatting delicately across the propulsive “Kildevaeld.”

In addition to its sparkling variety, the music on Celestial Circle dives headlong into the subtle art of evocation. “Winterspell,” with words and music again by Mazur, casts its painterly nets via Taylor’s snowfall and Mazur’s icicles before Cronholm articulates a single word. Here the trio breaks free for a spell of its own before ending in sun-kissed freeze. Mazur sews the seams at every turn. Whether duetting with Taylor in “Secret Crystals” or with Jormin in the flowing “Oceanique,” or even doing nothing more than caressing a gong by her lonesome in “Transcending,” she wields every instrument like a palette, to which invites the listener to add any hues that may come.

(To hear samples of Celestial Circle, click here.)

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