Maluba Orchestra – s/t
Marilyn Mazur, Fredrik Lundin, Kasper Bai
Together, Danish composers Marilyn Mazur, Fredrik Lundin, and Kasper Bai have found a shared passion in creating new rhythmic orchestral music for a large ensemble. The material of the three composers exploits all available sound variables, mixing in elements from all over the world in a relevant, contemporary expression that ranges from the lyrical and sacred to the wild and engaging. They’ve assembled a strong team of experienced musicians, each of whom is known from leading their own groups and also from numerous other contexts. Broadly diverse in terms of age, gender, background, and musical style, when they play together, the 13-member orchestra creates a bubbly and varied musical output, carried by tight ensemble playing with some of the Danish jazz scene’s strongest and most personal voices.
Maluba Orchestra was off to a flying start when they made their debut during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in 2017, as the Danish newspaper Politiken’s jazz writer Christian Munch-Hansen gave the performance a coveted five-heart review. He called it one of the best concerts he had heard under that year’s jazz festival, writing „from the first note, the music went right under the audience’s skin with a large, bold, common sound as big as the as the harvest ripened corn in the Danish fields and the time we live in!“
Since then, Maluba Orchestra has established itself as a thriving live band with performances including at the 2018 Danish Music Awards – an evening where one of the bandleaders, Fredrik Lundin, took home the trophy for “Composer of the Year.”
A wonderful blend of the fresh and familiar, there is every reason to welcome this orchestra on the Danish music scene. Maluba is an ensemble with the necessary volume, rhythmic power, and sonic depth needed to explore musical possibilities, pursue fun, and chase special ideas. The richness of the material, voices of the composers, and glorious creative energy of the soloists should not to be mistaken for an undefined, overly-loose, and/or open-minded fantasy. Maluba Orchestra’s debut recording is a triumphant, engaging listening experience from the first note to the last.
On this album, percussionist Marylin Mazur is not heard in interaction with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Jan Gabarek, Jon Balke, Dino Saluzzi, Palle Danielsson, Gil Evans, or another of the many great international names that have been lining up to play with the wonderfully original Danish artist over the years. She is also not heard with any of the epoch-making bands she’s led since first taking the stage at the end of the seventies. Here, rather, it’s all about collaboration with two of the more celebrated and prominent contemporary musical personalities in Denmark. Saxophonist Fredrik Lundin is now known to several generations of musicians, artists, listeners, and appreciators. First arriving on the Danish jazz scene in 1981, this versatile, elegant, and explosive musician and composer has impressed with his 11-member roots, blues, and jazz-oriented “Fredrik Lundin Overdrive,” has charmed in collaboration with Christina von Bülow through new interpretations of Lars Gullin’s melodies, and grooved with the more rock-oriented group “Offpiste Gurus.” All this and much more while being a prominent composer and member of modern experimental ensembles, as well as theatre and jazz constellations (including in Marylin Mazur’s Group). Kasper Bai fills out this triumvirate, and not „just“ as the guitarist, but also as an original and virtuosic voice, who besides being diligently used as organizer by other artists is also a prominent composer, creating numerous works for symphony orchestras, big bands, choirs, chamber ensembles, and much more. He leads several groups under his own name and is a member of Plamage, Aggerbæk Kvintet, Løgn, Järv, Aarhus Composer Ensemble (ACE), and now also Maluba Orchestra.