Mara Rosenbloom (p), Sean Conly (b), Chad Taylor (d)
Bar code: 8427328435109
"Prairie Burn” is the engaging new album by the pianist Mara Rosenbloom, who lives in Brooklyn but hails from Madison, Wis. A focused blast of restive, energetic postbop, it was recorded in a single take with the same working trio that will surfaces here."
Nate Chinen -The New York Times
"Rosenbloom has delivered a remarkable, improvisation-fueled recording that harks back to her prairie upbringing."
Dan Ouellette -ZealNYC
"Punk rock energy comes to jazz as this set was recorded in 38 minutes of first/only takes. Throwing all of her influences against the wall often at once, this is a set for the artsy jazz fan looking for something deep and hard to pin down but well played."
-MidWest Jazz Record
"At home in Wisconsin one summer during college, the jazz pianist Mara Rosenbloom was in a highway accident that nearly ended her career before it had begun. She was struck by an oncoming truck, crushing her left elbow. Doctors told her she might never play the piano again.
But as she recuperated from the injury, which physical therapy could not treat, piano practice actually became central to her recovery. “I think it really solidified my intent to become a musician,” she said. “It sort of drove home the necessity of the work.”
Ten years later, that work is paying off more than ever. Ms. Rosenbloom, 32, recently released her third album, “Prairie Burn,” a trio recording of bristling provocation and full-bore group improvising. It is her strongest statement as a bandleader and her most dauntless effort as a pianist.
With its fraying rhythmic patterns and ruptured flow, “Prairie Burn” connects the rolling Midwestern landscapes of Ms. Rosenbloom’s youth with an air of turbulence and risk. It doesn’t just insert her into the conversation alongside heavyweight contemporaries — suspense-building pianists like Craig Taborn, Kris Davis and Matt Mitchell — it also ties her in with a broad musical lineage that has proposed a relationship between this country’s landscape and its lived experience, from Ornette Coleman’s “Skies of America” to Joni Mitchell’s panoramic recordings of the mid-1970s.
Ms. Rosenbloom’s following remains small, even by improvised music standards, but since the album’s release in October she has started to establish a foothold in the left wing of New York’s jazz scene. On Sunday, she will perform alongside the fabled avant-garde bassist Henry Grimes at the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center, in the closing concert of “Justice Is Compassion/Not a Police State,” a three-week series of music and poetry presented by Arts for Art timed to culminate with Donald J. Trump’s inauguration weekend. In the spring, her trio will have its debut at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, part of Jazz at Lincoln Center."
Giovanni Russonello (January 20, 2017)
-The New York Times
"Prairie Burn, the latest album from New York pianist Mara Rosenbloom, begins at a gallop. An opening 5-minute improvised overture, “Brush Fire,” precedes a four-part title suite, which dominates this excellent trio debut.
The opener sets the scene with an immediate flood of dense activity, Sean Conly bowing his groaning bass alongside the leader’s agitated clusters. Very soon, this flurry settles into open space, and Rosenbloom finds her flow, repeating cycles in a near-minimalist manner.
“Prairie Burn” itself begins with a playful introduction from Rosenbloom, who grew up near the Great Plains of Wisconsin, before moving to New York 12 years ago. Her runs are full of hopeful traipsing, delicate and optimistic, and drummer Chad Taylor eloquently comments on and responds to her every phrase. The bass and drums are almost linear, but Rosenbloom is already off on an altering course, subverting what the listener might expect of the piece’s melodic direction.
Martin Longley (December, 2016)
"When thought outpaces action in music, the results are often staid and forgettable. Conversely, when thinking is suppressed in favor of ceaseless activity, the end results are often turbid, shambolic, and largely unlistenable. It's the power struggle between the two, along with the personalities controlling that struggle, that help jazz to expand, evolve, explore, and excite. Count pianist Mara Rosenbloom as one of those singular personalities pushing, probing, and exerting influence on the balance between idea and execution.
Rosenbloom's group with saxophonist Darius Jones put her on the map for fans of creative music, but she's mapping out new territory with a trio on Prairie Burn—a suite-focused album that's bold and aggressive. It's a compelling aural conflagration, but one that's controlled and continually redirected. Rosenbloom, bassist Sean Conly, and drummer Chad Taylor toy with avant-western motifs, spiky gestures, and excitable grooves, taking blissful jaunts across the scorched land in a rickety carriage of their own creation. It's a wild ride in the best sense of the phrase.
The fully improvised "Brush Fire" sets the scene with a dose of heightened tension before Rosenbloom telescopes focus with her thoughtful piano work. Then comes the album's centerpiece—a thirty-eight minute, four-part work full of ups and downs. It was recorded in one single, non-stop take. That method of capture adds to the urgency in the music. There's an intentionally punch-drunk playfulness to be found in the way the trio interacts at times during this suite, but there's also a dead serious mindfulness to this trio. One listen to "Part 3: Work"—a performance that affixes uncertainty, meditation, soulfulness, darkness, and a hint of resolution to one another—bears that out.
While the title suite could've made for a short but satisfying album on its own, Rosenbloom sweetens the deal here by adding two solo piano numbers which stand apart in origin yet remained somewhat united in emotional tone. "I Rolled And I Tumbled," performed as a nod to John Lee Hooker, is pure blues and pathos. "There Will Never Be Another You" starts with a simpler and sunnier approach, but it, too, quickly finds it's way into bluesy territory before leaving for more measured realms. Both are undiluted works of beauty produced by a wholehearted poet of the piano. Prairie Burn delivers in all the right ways.
Dan Bilawsky (November 9, 2016)
"There’s a programmatic reason, surely, on pianist Mara Rosenbloom’s latest disc, in placing two solo works at the end of a lengthy trio churn with bassist Sean Conly and drummer Chad Taylor. Perhaps she felt it gave space for reflection and respite after the whorl of group interaction subsided. But they also give one a clearer idea of how Rosenbloom the pianist operates—the syrupy objects that pervade “I Rolled and I Tumbled”, a paean to John Lee Hooker, emerge hesitantly at first, imbued with process and physicality and what appears relatively simple in form becomes a rolling, resonant exposition. Rosenbloom’s soft creep nudges time while right-hand triangulations splinter, crash and reconnoiter in suspended consistency. The chestnut “There Will Never Be Another You” follows, ballad moving into barreling, bluesy rejoinders, closing with a glassy lap at the tune’s contours.
Rosenbloom has been a part of the City’s improvised music scene since relocating here from her native Wisconsin in 2004 and has been inspired by the work and ethos of pianist, multi-instrumentalist and inventor Cooper-Moore. Her latest offering, and second on Fresh Sound-New Talent, mostly consists of a five-part trio suite, including an overture, and fleshes out every nook not covered by the aforementioned soli. It’s interesting to switch from diving into an unaccompanied piano piece to hearing how she interacts with a band—Conly’s muscular, splayed fiddle and Taylor’s heaving, stone-skipping delicacy congeal, support and bend space as Rosenbloom continually explores the paths of her material, evincing churchy insistence and malleable harmonies. She climbs around motifs, occupying the piano as both soloist and group member, an approach somewhere between participant and observer, at times clearly wrapped within ensemble unity and at others moving in direct parallel. “Turbulence” has a curious minimalist appeal at its center, earthy rejoinders and blistered calls telescoping upward from a gallop that looks toward Turkish folk songs.
Prairie Burn is an apt title for this Midwest-cum-Borough scorcher and hopefully will help place Rosenbloom’s music centrally on the map."
Clifford Allen (October, 2016)
The New York City Jazz Record
"Pianist Mara Rosenbloom gets playful on this trio session with Sean Conly/b and Chad Taylor/dr. After a free form improvised opening track, the team delivers a four part “Prairie Burn Set” that includes a melodic and innocent “Red-Winged Blackbirds” and a mood changing “Turbulence” that sounds like clouds slowly evolving into a thunderstorm. The team slowly builds up on “Work!” to a climactic conclusion before Rosenbloom goes solo for a couple of pieces. The “Tribute to John Lee Hooker” is a ruminating delight, while the tensile “There Will Never Be Another You” displays ectomorphic breaths with aplomb. Rich textures throughout."
George W. Harris (October 24, 2016)