Rob Mazurek

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Rob Mazurek
Rob-mazurek 01.jpg
Performing in Aarhus, Denmark 2015
Photo Hreinn Gudlaugsson
Background information
Born 1965 (age 51–52)
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Jazz, Experimental, Avant-garde
Instruments Cornet, Electronics, Piano, Boxes, Voice
Years active 1983-Present

Rob Mazurek (born 1965) is an American composer, cornetist, improviser and visual artist living in Chicago, Illinois.


Rob Mazurek is an American electro-acoustic composer, cornetist, improviser and visual artist living in Chicago, Illinois.[1]

Mazurek was born in 1965 in Jersey City, New Jersey, and played trumpet and cornet in high school in Naperville, Illinois. He first learned the foundations of improvised music while studying jazz theory and practice with David Bloom at the Bloom School of Jazz in Chicago,[2] eventually working with other Chicago musicians like Kenny Prince, Robert Barry, Jodie Christian, Lin Halliday and Earma Thompson.[3]

In 1996, Mazurek formed the longstanding Chicago Underground Collective with guitarist Jeff Parker and drummer Chad Taylor, a unit that ranges in size from duo to orchestra. The Collective earned Mazurek the attention of the Windy City's underground community at the turn of the Millennium, resulting in high-profile collaborations with other genre-defying artists like Gastr Del Sol, Jim O'Rourke, Sam Prekop, Stereolab and Tortoise. Isotope 217 (started by Jeff Parker) was consequently born from these endeavors.[4]

While living in Brazil from 2000 to 2005, Mazurek constructed exotic soundscapes from the sounds of the Amazonian rain forest, including electric eels recorded at INPA research laboratory in Manaus and audio culled from storm systems on the outskirts of Brasilia. It was in São Paulo that Mazurek met Mauricio Takara and Guilherme Granado, his partners in the São Paulo Underground, a group dedicated to exploring and expanding upon Brazilian musical traditions.[5]

Originally inspired by a joint commission from the Chicago Cultural Center and Jazz Institute of Chicago, Mazurek founded the Exploding Star Orchestra in 2005 to investigate Chicago's avant-garde musical traditions.[6] The Orchestra has premiered a number of extended suites since its inception, including "Sting Ray and the Beginning of Time," "Cosmic Tomes for Sleepwalking Lovers," "Constellations for Inner Light Projections for Bill Dixon," "Stars Have Shapes," "63 Moons of Jupiter", "Transgressions Suite" and "Galactic Parables."

Mazurek currently leads a number of ensembles, including Exploding Star Orchestra, Pharoah and the Underground (featuring Pharoah Sanders), Chicago Underground, Pulsar Quartet, São Paulo Underground, Skull Sessions, Sound Is Quintet, Starlicker, Mandarin Movie and Throne of the House of Good and Evil, each of which possesses its own distinct musical personality. He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists, such as Bill Dixon, Pharoah Sanders, Mike Ladd, Roscoe Mitchell, Yusef Lateef, Fred Anderson, Naná Vasconcelos, Mamelo Sound System, Kassin and Marcelo Camelo and others.

As a composer, Mazurek has written over 300 original compositions over the past 30 years, and has released 55 recordings on various labels including Aesthetics, Cuneiform, Delmark, Family Vineyard, Mego, Northern Spy, Submarine, Thrill Jockey and his own label Infinity Dogs. Beyond his ensemble efforts, Mazurek's solo endeavors reflect his interest in musique concrete and electronic sound manipulation, with releases on Aesthetics, Bottrop-Boy, Delmark, Mego and Moikai that document his cornet playing augmented by computer programming, electronic effects and keyboards.

Mazurek has also been awarded a number of commissions and awards. In 2016, he received a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts for an experimental film titled "The Farnsworth Scores" in collaboration with filmmaker Lee Anne Schmitt. The film is shot at Mies van der Rohe's iconic Farnsworth House. In 2013, he was commissioned to compose the "Galactic Parables" suite by the Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival in Sardinia, Italy. In 2011, he was commissioned to compose "Violent Orchid Suite" by the Jazz & Wine Festival in Cormons, Italy and "Transgressions Suite" by the Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival in Sardinia, Italy. In 2010, he received the Commissioning Music/USA grant from Meet the Composer for a multi-media work developed in collaboration with video artist/choreographer Marianne Kim.

Additionally, Mazurek works as a visual artist (incorporating sound, painting and video) with numerous international performances, exhibitions and artist residencies. He has shown his multi-media works at locations throughout the US and Europe, including the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, where his paintings hang on the office walls. His pieces have also appeared at Marfa Book Company (Marfa, TX), Galleria Coletivo (São Paulo, Brazil), Abbey Royal de Fontevraud (Anjou, France), Gantner Multi-Media Center (Bourogne, France), Heaven Gallery (Chicago, USA), Naked Duck Gallery (New York, USA), Le Grande Fabrique (Dieppe, France) and URDLA Centre Estampe et Livre (Villeurbanne, France).[7]


Rob Mazurek 2015
  • 1994 Rob Mazurek Quartet Man Facing East (Hep Records)
  • 1995 Rob Mazurek Quintet Badlands (Hep Records)
  • 1997 Rob Mazurek Quintet Green & Blue (Hep Records)
  • 1998 Chicago Underground Orchestra Playground (Delmark Records)
  • 1998 Isotope 217 the Unstable Molecule (Thrill Jockey)
  • 1998 Chicago Underground Duo 12 Degrees of Freedom (Thrill Jockey)
  • 1999 Chicago Underground Trio Possible Cube (Delmark Records)
  • 1999 Istotope 217 "Utonian Automatic" (Thrill Jockey)
  • 1999 Orton Socket "99 Explosions" (Moikai)
  • 2000 Chicago Underground Duo Synesthesia (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2000 Chicago Underground Trio Flamethrower (Delmark Records)
  • 2000 Isotope 217 "Who Stole The I Walkman" (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2001 Chicago Underground Quartet (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2002 Rob Mazurek Amorphic Winged (Walking Road)
  • 2002 Chicago Underground Duo Axis and Alignment (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2002 Rob Mazurek Silver Spines (Delmark Records)
  • 2003 Tigersmilk "Tigersmilk" (Family Vineyard)
  • 2003 Rob Mazurek/Liam Gillick "Thought Farming" (En/Of)
  • 2004 Chicago Underground Trio Slon (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2004 Rob Mazurek Sweet and Vicious Like Frankenstein (Mego Records)
  • 2004 Rob Mazurek "Music For Shattered Light Box and 7 Posters" (Bottrop-Boy)
  • 2005 Mandarin Movie (Aesthetics Records)
  • 2005 Tigersmilk "Tales From The Bottle" (Family Vineyard)
  • 2006 Chicago Underground Duo In Praise of Shadows (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2006 Sao Paulo Underground Sauna: Um, Dois, Tres (Aesthetics)
  • 2007 Chicago Underground Trio Chronicle (Delmark Records)
  • 2007 Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra "We Are All from Somewhere Else (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2007 Tigersmilk "Android Love Cry" (Family Vineyard)
  • 2008 Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2008 Sao Paulo Underground "The Principle of Intrusive Relationships" (Aesthetics)
  • 2008 Rob Mazurek "Abstraction on Robert D'Arbrissel" (Adluna)
  • 2009 'Rob Mazurek Quintet "Sound Is (Delmark Records)
  • 2009 Rohrer/Mazurek/Takara/Barely "Projections of a Seven Foot Ghost" (Peligro)
  • 2010 Chicago Underground Duo: Boca Negra (Thrill Jockey)
  • 2010 Rob Mazurek Calma Gente (Submarine)
  • 2010 Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra "Stars Have Shapes (Delmark Records)
  • 2011 Starlicker "Double Demon" (Delmark Records)
  • 2011 Sao Paulo Underground"Tres Cabecas Loucuras" (Cuneiform/Submarine)
  • 2012 Rob Mazurek Pulsar Quartet "Stellar Pulsations" (Delmark Records)
  • 2012 Chicago Underground Duo "Age Of Energy" (Northern Spy)
  • 2012 Rob Mazurek/Carlos Issa "Eclusa" (Submarine)
  • 2013 Rob Mazurek Octet "Skull Sessions" (Cuneiform)
  • 2013 Sao Paulo Underground "Beija Flors Velho E Sujo" (Cuneiform/Infinity Dogs)
  • 2013 Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Ensemble "The Space Between" (Delmark Records)
  • 2013 Rob Mazurek "Episodes" (Wapapura)
  • 2013 Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra Featuring Roscoe Mitchell + Solo Works "Matter Anti-Matter" (Rogue Art)
  • 2014 Rob Mazurek Alternate Moon Cycles "Waning Crescent" (International Anthem Recording Co.)
  • 2014 Rob Mazurek Alternate Moon Cycles "Waxing Crescent" (International Anthem Recording Co.)
  • 2014 Rob Mazurek Black Cube SP "Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost" (Cuneiform)
  • 2014 Pharoah and the Underground (Chicago and São Paulo Underground with Pharoah Sanders) "Primative Jupiter" (Clean Feed)
  • 2014 Pharoah and the Underground (Chicago and São Paulo Underground with Pharoah Sanders) "Spiral Mercury" (Clean Feed)
  • 2014 Rob Mazurek "Mother Ode" (Corbett vs Dempsey)
  • 2014 Chicago Underground Duo "Locus" (Northern Spy)
  • 2015 Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra "Galactic Parables: Volume 1" (Cuneiform)
  • 2015 Rob Mazurek "Vortice of the Faun" (Astral Spirits)
  • 2016 Rob Mazurek and Emmett Kelly "Alien Flower Sutra" (International Anthem Recording Company)
  • 2016 Sao Paulo Underground "Cantos Invisiveis" (Cuneiform)


  1. ^ "The Wire Issue 354 - August 2013". 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  2. ^ Dugan, John. "Jazz Departments: Rob Mazurek - By John Dugan — Jazz Articles". Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  3. ^ "The Wire Issue 201 - November 2000". 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  4. ^ "Rob Mazurek @ All About Jazz". Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  5. ^ "Sao Paulo Underground: Beija Flors Velho E Sujo". Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  6. ^ "Thrill Jockey". 2009-08-09. Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  7. ^ Patrick, Michael. "Rob Mazurek: Jazz Composer / Visual Artist Challenges Boundaries of Sound, Light, and Color | ALARM". Retrieved 2015-05-30. 

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