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Danish percussionist Marilyn Mazur shows off her new group Shamania, which is made up of high-grade female avant-jazz musicians from around Scandinavia. This is their first album together. It's one of those records were the talent and chops flying around each track could almost overwhelm, if the results weren’t so directly engaging. Out on RareNoise.

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Shamania by Marilyn Mazur
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8/10 Will Staff review, 27 February 2019

If you don’t know you won’t know: Marilyn Mazur’s Shamania is an avant-garde jazz group made up of ten Scandinavian musicians including Norweigan dancer Tine Erica Aspaas, and it’s a ‘ritual, organic, cacophonic and wildgrowing female community around primitive force/voices/rhythm/good energy and movement’. Wow. If that doesn’t pique your interest then what will? Press releases should all be written like this, full of arcane vocabulary and complex ideas.

Shamania is a pretty weird album, it’s got to be said. There are complex polyrhythms, odd harmonies and melodies, and what sound like baby voices on ‘Rytmeritual’. ‘CHAAS’ has got the kind of bass and drum groove that Snapped Ankles are purveyors of and ‘Behind Clouds’ is the kind of thing I imagine soundtracking the first terrestrial organisms’ exploration of the land above the sea in the Cambrian period some six hundred and thirty million years ago.

For those unaware, Marilyn Mazur is a Danish percussionist and bandleader who has played in various projects for forty-four years and is winner of the coveted Jazzpar prize, the highest accolade in Jazz. She composed most of this album and that is a staggering feat. Every piece is a mini-opus, from meandering works like ‘New Secret’ to the shortest track (twenty-three seconds) on the album, ‘Momamajobas’, which, despite being at blink-and-you’ll-miss-it length, carries as much power as the longer pieces.

Though this album won’t be in any Billboard top 100s any time soon (though it should), this album carries with it a majesty and poise. Go listen to it immediately.



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