Alto saxophonist and composer Nick Mazzarella (b. 1984) 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, the musician and presenter collective Umbrella Music, and the Ratchet Series, a grass roots effort to establish a performance haven for free jazz in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. 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 energy on the areas of composition-based free jazz and free improvisation. It is through his work in these stylistic mediums that Mazzarella has developed a distinctive voice.
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