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«What You Seek Is Seeking You»

«What You Seek Is Seeking You» is the second album of the Chicagoan trio of alto sax player Nick Mazzarella, Norwegian double bass dynamo Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (who has lived in Chicago when he relocated to the United States) and legendary, veteran drummer Avreeayl Ra, who played with the Sun Ra Arkestra in the eighties and with other great Chicagoan musicians like Fred Anderson, Nicole Mitchell and Dave Rempis. The album, like the debut album of the trio Azimuth (Astral Spirits, 2015), was recorded live at the Constellation club in Chicago in August 2019.

The seven pieces are credited to the three musicians and all follow the legacy of innovative free jazz musicians like Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill – and especially his trio Air with double bass player Fred Hopkins and Steve McCall (later replaced by Andrew Cyrille), and Don Cherry. Mazzarella likes to quote John Coltrane who said that the role of the musician is to «give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things he knows of and senses in the universe».

Without denying the seminal influence of the great lineage of musicians, this trio has its own strong identity. Mazzarella has developed his own approach of improvising  ‘inside’ and ‘out’, combining lyricism and harmonic motifs with textural gestures, while always hewing closely to the blues. Håker Flaten’s extraordinary agility and assertive rhythmic concept serve as a powerful engine that keeps generating a stream of ideas, and Ra’s musical wisdom gravitates the commotion in an open, conversant style with energy and great sensitivity.

The live setting is a perfect one for this trio to express its profound spiritual connection to the pioneers of free jazz and free improvisation. The aesthetics of this trio clearly respect the values of this music – democratic and organic communication, collective sound and collective, spontaneous composition, and obviously, deep affinity, and one of the pieces here is aptly title «Firekeeper». The trio stretches its powers patiently, opting for slow-cooking, introspective dynamics and loose yet soulful textures, and always varies its empathic interplay with new colors and nuances. The beautiful pictures and stories that «What You Seek Is Seeking You» tells have an immediate emotional impact, proving, again and again, that music, and especially the blues, is the healing force of the universe.

Eyal Hareuveni

Nick Mazzarella (as, bells), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (b), Avreeayl Ra (dr)

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