ABOUT THIS IS ONLY A TEST: LIVE AT THE HUNGRY BRAIN
"Saxophonist Nick Mazzarella comes into his own on his second trio album, This Is Only a Test: Live at the Hungry Brain. Bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly keep a tight rein on the songs, maintaining a lithe, crisp drive. Many of Mazzarella's compositions borrow Coleman's ebullient, jaunty melodicism, but he often changes the mood when he takes an extended solo—his dark, visceral phrasing and strident tone recall fire breathers like Pharoah Sanders and Albert Ayler." - Peter Margasak (Chicago Reader)
ABOUT NICK MAZZARELLA
Alto saxophonist and composer Nick Mazzarella has been a participant in Chicago’s jazz, free jazz, improvised music, and rock scenes as a bandleader, sideman, and presenter since 2002. After completing his formal music education at DePaul University (Bachelor of Music 2006, Master of Music 2009), he began performing regularly with his own groups and with projects led by his peers at venues throughout the city and the United States. His efforts have been especially concentrated around the activities of his primary working band, the Nick Mazzarella Trio (read more here), the musician and presenter collective Umbrella Music (read more here), the multi-disciplined Everypeople Workshop (read more here), and the grass roots effort to establish a new haven on the south side of Chicago for free jazz, the Ratchet Series (see below). Equally at home in the worlds of the traditional and the avant-garde, Mazzarella maintains a continuous performance schedule encompassing a variety of musical contexts, but focuses the majority of his energies on the areas of composition-based free jazz and free form improvisation. Through his work in these stylistic mediums, Mazzarella has established himself as a distinct voice within the second post-Vandermark generation of Chicago improvisers, the so-called "new blood" of that unique lineage.
Mazzarella has performed as a sideman in bands led by Frank Rosaly (Green and Gold), Jaimie Branch (Bomb Shelter), Jake Vinsel (Horse-Fire), Jason Ajemian (Magic Bone), Joe Adamik (Joe Adamik Quartet), Keefe Jackson (Project Project), Mikel Avery (Everypeople Workshop), and Rob Mazurek (Exploding Star Orchestra). He has also worked on an individual basis with such musicians as Anton Hatwich, Cameron Pfiffner, Dave Rempis, Devin Davis, Devin Hoff, Dylan Ryan, Fredrik Ljungkvist, Guillermo Gregorio, James Falzone, Jason Adasiewicz, Jason Roebke, Jason Stein, Jeb Bishop, Jim Baker, Josh Berman, Joshua Abrams, Matt Schneider, Marc Riordan, Mars Williams, Mike Reed, Nate Lepine, Nick Broste, Nicole Mitchell, Quin Kirchner, Steve Hunt, Tim Daisy, and Tomeka Reid.
Mazzarella is a curator of the Ratchet Series in residence at the Skylark in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. The series was founded in 2007 by drummer Frank Rosaly, with whom Mazzarella has worked on the project since 2009, with the aim of providing musicians of diverse styles and approaches within the genres of free jazz and improvised and experimental music with a weekly performance opportunity. By organizing these concert events Mazzarella, Rosaly, and bassist Anton Hatwich, who joined the effort in 2011, strive to foster a community that supports musicians on Chicago's south side.