Nick Mazzarella – alto saxophone • Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – bass • Avreeayl Ra – drums (US / NO)
The ongoing collaboration between alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Avreeayl Ra brings together three generations of improvised music practitioners. Through a unique creative chemistry, the trio’s music connects the distinctive instrumental voices and compositional sensibilities of each member into a unified expression. To date, the group has recorded two albums for the Astral Spirits imprint:Azimuth, released in 2015, and What You Seek Is Seeking You, released in 2021.
The ongoing collaboration between alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Avreeayl Ra brings together three generations of improvised music practitioners. Through a unique creative chemistry, the trio’s music connects the distinctive instrumental voices and compositional sensibilities of each Nick Mazzarella (Nick Mazzarella Trio), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (Atomic, The Thing), and Avreeayl Ra (Sun Ra Arkestra, the AACM) first convened as a trio in 2014 to improvise a one-off concert at Constellation, one of Chicago’s leading jazz venues. The musicians knew each other from their mutual involvement in the Chicago improvised music community, and Mazzarella and Ra (both residents of Chicago) had worked together previously in other settings. At their initial meeting as a unit, the three musicians instantly recognized a deep creative rapport between themselves, and the music they improvised was effortlessly cohesive from the start. That first performance was documented and released in 2015 as a limited edition cassette entitled “Azimuth: Live at Constellation” on the Austin, Texas based record label Astral Spirits. With the release of the recording, what began as a single-gig-experiment grew into an ongoing collaboration. The trio was featured at the 2015 Sonic Transmissions Festival in Austin, then at the 2016 Astral Spirits Festival in Chicago, and, over the next few years, continued to play club dates in Chicago and Milwaukee whenever Håker Flaten was visiting the Midwest from either his native country of Norway or his adoptive home city of Austin. A 2019 recording of another performance at Constellation was released by Astral Spirits in 2021 as the group’s sophomore album entitled “What You Seek Is Seeking You.
“What makes this [trio’s] work most compelling is how collective it is.” – Chicago Reader
“This trio expresses its profound spiritual connection to the pioneers of free jazz and free improvisation.” – Salt
“Each [member of the trio] plays with an assertiveness that shapes the ensemble sound, making this a band of equals.” – Dusted Magazine
“What You Seek is Seeking You is a testament to the power and relevance of modern jazz and its ability to demand both our attention and participation.” – Cassette Culture
ABOUT THE MUSICIANS
NICK MAZZARELLA (http://nickmazzarella.com)
Alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella has been described as “continuing the approach taken by like-minded trailblazing altoists Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Henry Threadgill, Oliver Lake, and Gary Bartz” by “seeking to embody the history of the music while pushing it forward into new realms” (All About Jazz). He has been a consistent presence in Chicago’s music scene since the early 2000s and has performed and recorded with such artists as Joshua Abrams, Geof Bradfield, Hamid Drake, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Dana Hall, Makaya McCraven, Rob Mazurek, Avreeayl Ra, and Tomeka Reid. Recordings of his original music have been released by Nessa, Clean Feed, Astral Spirits, International Anthem, and Out of Your Head, and he has performed throughout the United States and Europe, as well as in Africa and the Middle East.
INGEBRIGT HÅKER FLATEN (http://ingebrigtflaten.com)
The award winning Norwegian bassist, improviser, composer and bandleader Ingebrigt Håker Flaten has been at the forefront of modern creative music both in his native country Norway and internationally since the early 1990s. Perhaps best known as a founding member of the Scandinavian super group Atomic, Håker Flaten has merged post-free jazz explorations and experimentation with skillful use of attributes from many other idioms in countless collaborations, bands and projects. He has performed all over the world and appeared on more than 200 recordings, collaborating with such stellar musicians as Joe McPhee, David Murray, Peter Brötzmann, Ken Vandermark, Rob Mazurek, Frode Gjerstad, Neneh Cherry, Mette Rasmussen, James Blood Ulmer, Bugge Wesseltoft, Paul Lytton, Chris Potter, Hamid Drake, Akira Sakata, and Tony Malaby.
AVREEAYL RA (http://allaboutjazz.com/musicians/avreeayl-ra)
Renowned master drummer and percussionist Avreeayl Ra is a long-term member of the AACM – his relationship with the seminal music organization began with early studies with AACM co-founder Kelan Philip Cohran. Avreeayl has performed and/or recorded with Fred Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Fontella Bass, Lester Bowie, Ari Brown, Oscar Brown, Jr., Henry Butler, Henry Byrd (”Professor Longhair”), Hamid Drake, Malachi Favors, Donald Raphael Garrett, Charles Gayle, Henry Grimes, Billy Harper, Joseph Jarman, Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Nicole Mitchell, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders, Malachi Thompson, and many more. While based in Chicago for most of his career, he lived briefly in New Orleans and New York and has toured widely in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Far East, and Africa.