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  • Jonathan Widran


Multi-talented trombonist, composer and arranger Mariel Austin is a fresh and fascinating emerging presence whose array of accolades includes receiving the ASCAP Foundation Phoebe Jacobs Prize (part of the 2018 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Awards) and being selected by the New York Youth Symphony to compose a First Music Commission piece for the 2015-16 jazz band.

That epic 7-1/2 minute piece, Mirrorshift,” is the compelling, multi-mood swinging middle track of the Austin Rock-Jazz Orchestra’s shapeshifting, dynamics-rich debut album Runner in the Rain. It’s perfectly representative the stylish collection’s ability to take us on a journey full of transcendent, swinging and percussive, horn powered highs and subtle, intimate moments of gentler grace – often all within the same expansive, complex but compelling composition.

Highlights include a breezy and whimsical romp through Wayne Shorter’s “Night Dreamer” (featuring a feisty tenor solo by Noah Preminger and Andria Nicodemou’s sensual vibraphone) and the dramatic, classically tinged closing title track, a showcase for Austin’s impeccable, heartrending vocals.

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