Born: January 18, 1955 Primary Instrument: Percussion
Marilyn Mazur was born in New York in 1955. She has been living in Denmark since age six. As a child and teenager she played classical piano and danced ballet.
She started her musical career as a dancer with Creative Dance Theatre in 1971. As composer/pianist she formed her first band Zirenes in 1973. From 1975 she worked as percussionist, drummer and singer with various groups, and became known on the danish musicscene as the colorful percussionist/composer of the group Six Winds with drummer Alex Riel and as the leader of the all-women- musictheatre-group Primi Band.
Marilyn Mazur is educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, but is largely autodidact on her instruments, inspired by music from all over the world. She received the Ben Webster Award in 1983, and the same year started a jazz quartet with saxophonist Uffe Markussen. She continued to develope her very personal forms of musical communication with various - mostly european - artists.
In the beginning of 1985 she participated in the recording of Palle Mikkelborg’s Aura (CBS 463 351-2) with Miles Davis, who a few months later hired her for his band, with which she toured for long periods in most of the world. CD - Miles Davis: Live Around the World (Warner Bros 9 46032- 2). She also toured with Gil Evans Orch in 1986 - album: Gil Evans/Laurent Cugny Big Band Lumiere: Rhythm-a-ning (Emarcy 836401-2 & rerelease: Universal Music 836 401 - 2) and Golden Hair (Universal Music 838 773 - 2).
The year 1987 was dedicated to a world-tour with Wayne Shorter Quintet. In 1988 she was back with Miles Davis.
Some of the many other musicians she has been working with through the years are: Bobo Stensson/Rena Rama, John Tchicai, PierreDørge/NewJungle Orchestra (several records on Steeplechase), Thomas Clausen, Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Jon Balke (CD: Further), Palle Mikkelborg & Dino Saluzzi, Kenneth Knudsen, Irene Schweizer, Lindsay Cooper, Peter Kowald, Arild Andersen, Andreas Vollenweider, Christy Doran, Charlie Mariano & Jasper van’t Hof (CD: Innuendo), Rita Marcotulli, Lena Willemark, Maria João, Don Alias, Marilyn Crispell, Eliane Elias and Marc Johnsson.
As a composer MM has a lifetime grant from the danish National Art Foundation. She also recieved prizes and grants from various other organisations.
In 1989 Marilyn Mazur decided to leave the Miles Davis- band in order to concentrate on creating concepts, music and the 7-piece international orchestra FUTURE SONG, which is still one of her main groups (CDs: Marilyn Mazur’s FUTURE SONG vBr 2105-2 + Small Labyrinths ECM 1559). This group does many special projects, i.e. with dancers and choir, but is especially characterized by very colorful concerts.
In 1990 her most important activity was giving birth to her son, Fabian.
1991 she joined Jan Garbarek Group, with whom she still tours extensively. (CDs : ECM 1500, 1585, 1685/86).
Besides this group and Future Song , she is very active with composing and doing own projects, some examples being: writing and conducting an hour-long suite City-Dance for a 40-piece mixed orchestra at the Copenhagen Jazz-festival 1989, Pulse Unit, a 9-piece ensemble put together for the Jazzpar-prize concerts 1994 (Cd: Circular Chant, STCD 4200); Sofia's Stemmer, a church-concert for 3 voices, childrens choir, percussion and organ for Copenhagen- culture-city 1996; conducting her new music with Brande international music workshop 96/97 , of which the suite A Story of Multiplicity was nominated for the Nordic Council's Music Prize 1998 (CD: DCCD9431) ; the concept Magic Concerts for children. This project is in danish, and has been playing for schoolchildren all over Denmark (CD : Marilyn Mazur’s Tryllemusik, CD 30539 WH) , various smaller settings.
In ‘99 she played at the first Biennale de Percussions in Conakry, Guinea with members of the Guinea Ballet Joliba. Same year she wrote the suite Den Kuglerunde Jord which was performed by about 200 children and herself at a cultural-friendship-festival in Hvidovre outside Copenhagen, where she lives. Marilyn's composition Jordsange for choir and big band was released on cd march 2000 (Dacapo DCCD 9431). She apeared at the Expo 2000 in Hannover and performed solo and with her new group Marilyn Mazur’s Percussion Paradise, same year she performed with the nordic song-project “Stemmernes skygge” at festivals in Molde and Oslo, besides being artist in residence in Bologna 2000 and composing for various projects. Among Marilyn’s highlights in 2001 were receiving the Jazzparprize and playing the Jazzparprize-concerts with 14 handpicked musicians (CD: All the birds STUCD 02072) . Also a new collaboration with the norwegian bigband Norske Store. 2002: soloconcerts for children. In 1989,90,95,97,98 and 02 the american DOWN BEAT magazine had Marilyn Mazur selected as a perc.-talent deserving wider recognition, in their critics poll.
In 2004 Marilyn received Editon Wilhelm Hansens komponistpris a prize normally handed out to classical composers.
2005 she recorded a solo-album for ECM with Jan Garbarek as guestartist. The danish filmmaker Chr. Braad Thomsen recorded a film about Marilyn Mazur and her music. Also she did a lot of touring with her groups, including a new trio with Per Jørgensen and Anders Jormin.
In 2008 Marilyn Mazur was Artist in Residence at the Molde International Jazz Festival. During this stay her group Celestial Circle with John Taylor, vocalist Josefine Cronholm and Anders Jormin was formed. Their first album was released on ECM in May 2011.