Charlie Mariano
Kozmigroov Albums
Blue Stone [Black Lion, 1971]
Mirror [Atlantic, 1972]
Reflections [Catalyst, 1974]
Cascade [Keystone, 1974]
We Keep On [MPS, 1975]
Helen 12 Trees [MPS, 1976]
October [CMP, 1977]
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Blue Stone is mostly overcooked fusionoid tunes with barely any energy to slither to the floor.  However, the opening cut on the second side (an adaptation of a South Indian devotional piece, complete with Mariano on nagaswaram) is really too much to resist- a tightly wound modal jam whose dense, double-reed weaving gives way to an inchoate, sparse electric piano solo which manages to boost the intensity without resorting to bigger/faster/louder tricks. Cross-over moves generally ring hollow to my ears, so I always appreciate one that gets the balance right and throws something new to the mix. [RL]

Mariano is at his best when he's under an Eastern influence. Mirror tends to be more spacious than spacey and overall too restrained-- tracks like "F Minor Happy" and "Mirror" should have been scorching, but the sessions were tethered by the same politeness evident on so many of the Atlantic jazz lps circa the early 1970s.  And when Charlie plays flute on "Summer of 42", it's frighteningly close to those dilute Herbie Mann lps of the same vintage (at least Mariano remains fully-clothed for his cover pic.)  There is one cut influenced by Indo-Asian modes, "Madras", where Mariano plays a nagasuram, accompanied by percussion and bass.  A sweet combination but at only three minutes, it's too short. [DW]