Rob Mazurek is a multidisciplinary artist/abstractivist, with a focus on electro-acoustic composition, improvisation, performance, painting, sculpture, video, film and installation, who spent much of his creative life in Chicago, and then Brazil. He currently lives and works in Marfa Texas with his wife Britt Mazurek.
Mazurek was born in 1965 in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1975 he moved with his family to a suburb of Chicago where he started playing cornet at the age of 10. A confrontation with the music of Sun Ra at the age of 16 at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 1981 had inspired Mazurek to want to become a serious composer performer. He first learned the foundations of improvised music while studying jazz theory and practice with David Bloom at the Bloom School of Jazz in Chicago, at the same time studying composition with Ralph Dodds (Roosevelt University), Sheldon Atovsky (Depaul University), Easley Blackwood (University of Chicago) and Ken Prince (Chicago). He began working with Chicago musicians Kenny Prince, Robert Barry, Jodie Christian, Lin Halliday, John Webber, George Fludas, Eric Alexander, Randy Tressler, Dennis Carol and Earma Thompson and many others in the mid 80’s-early 90’s.
In the early 90’s Mazurek released his first recording “Man Facing East” on the HEP records label featuring George Fludas, John Webber and Randolph Tressler, and released 2 more records with the addition of Eric Alexander. In 1993 he started painting in earnest after being stunned by a Mark Rothko painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and soon after created work that would eventually be used for the record covers for Chicago Underground Duo’s seminal work Synesthesia, Axis and Alignment and Isotope 217’s split remix. In1994, Mazurek formed the Chicago Underground Collective with guitarist Jeff Parker with a cast of revolving players including Robert Barry and Joshua Abrams, before settling on the lineup that would become the first release on Delmark Records “Playground” which features Jeff Parker, Chad Taylor, Chris Lopes, Sara Smith, Chad Taylor, a unit that ranges in size from duo to orchestra. The Underground’s first release on Delmark Records “Playground” was released with critical attention. Isotope 217 (conceived by Jeff Parker) was consequently born at this time and also began his fascination with incorporating electronics/computer music into his compositions and improvisations. The mid 90’s proved to be a fertile time for many musicians and artists, with the Chicago Underground and Isotope 2017 creating and releasing 6 full length records for Delmark and Thrill Jockey records.