Malo Mazurié • Taking The Plunge

Malo Mazurie Taking the Plunge cover artI have read praise for cornetist and trumpet player Malo Mazurié for years and have enjoyed listening deeply for him in several groups where he was a member. These were groups playing artistic traditional jazz and “Chamber Jazz,” a term sounding much more caged than it should to describe what, at least on these albums, is an intentional climbing up the walls while staying within the form.

He is featured on albums that should be carefully considered for any best of list of classic jazz recorded in the last decade; Attila Korb and his Rollini Project’s Tap Room Swing, David Lukács Dream City, the albums from Three Blind Mice, several with Michel Pastre, Félix Hunot & The Jazz Musketeers’ self-titled album, and Jerome Etcheberry’s two Satchmocracy albums. All of these feature superb playing made richer by the presence of Malo Mazurié, and feature artists you are unlikely to hear live without travel plans for the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival in the UK.

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Taking the Plunge is my chance, and yours, to meet the man directly as not just lead but on a name title. While he is part of a quartet here including Noé Huchard on piano, Raphaël Dever on bass, and David Grebil on drums, this is not listed as the “Malo Mazurié Quartet,” but under his name alone, his first time out as lead, and I will take that to mean the expression here is his. He pulls an awful lot out of that quartet while leading from his horn in an almost pied piper fashion, which is exactly what I longed to hear from him.

Entering his mid-30s now, Malo began to play cornet at seven and as a young devotee of Bix was often associated with him in accolades received as a teenage star playing European festival. He’s shared the stage with Dan Barrett, Scott Hamilton, Howard Alden, Rossano Sportiello, Paolo Alderighi, Duke Heitger, and others familiar to our readers and appeared all over the world including Korea, the Middle East, and Africa. While rooted in Bix and early jazz, he has studied both classical and modern jazz in pursuit of excellence on his instrument and it shows throughout this album.

Eight of 15 titles are his own compositions, and where they aren’t it matters, including “The Pearls,” and “Davenport Blues,” performed in special arrangements he explains in album notes that provide many insights. This is jazz that taps into that root of the ’20s and ’30s, without ignoring the existence of later instrumental developments. It entices the ear. On some titles he gets up to speeds demonstrating dexterity and the ability to swim in the modern element had he chosen that path, while on others his playing can channel Louis or Bix with more authenticity than imitation would allow.

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The other musicians of course get their say, the pianist is excellent, as is the drummer, though he is not showy. The bassist also sticks primarily to his role driving the sound, though everyone is given plenty of time and space to interact with each other as well as with Malo. Ultimately, the reason to acquire this album is to study the playing of Malo Mazurié, widely considered to be one of the top cornet players performing today, in a setting where he is unusually front and center.

Taking the Plunge
Malo Mazurié

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of

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