How Passion Falls is Mayfield's second CD on Basin Street Records and it can hold its own with all the mainstream jazz that has been released in recent memory.
The album contains ten original compositions (one track is "hidden" at the end) and deals with love and romance (what else, with a title like How Passion Falls). One of the most interesting things about this album is the song sequence. It could be called a jazz-opera because the tracks are ordered in a sort of acts and scenes format. It is a take, if you will, on the boy meets girl theme (with Biblical and Shakespearean overtones). The titles, in order, are: "The Illusion," "Adam & Eve," "The Obsession," "Othello & Desdemona," "The Affair," "The Denial," "Romeo & Juliet," "David & Bathsheba," and "The Reality." While not every love story features the betrayal of "The Affair" and "David & Bathsheba," let's give Mayfield some leeway.
This CD does a wonderful job of displaying the talents and musicianship of its players. The interaction of bassist Edwin Livingston, drummer Jaz Sawyer and pianist Richard Johnson together with Mayfield's trumpet is mesmerizing. The interaction of the quartet with percussionist Bill Summers and saxophonist Aaron Fletcher on "Adam & Eve" is Latin-tinged blues-jazz at its finest.
Delfeayo Marsalis (who also produced the album) plays on trombone on "The Denial." Other guests include Ellis Marsalis (no, he's not another brother; yes, he's Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo's father) on piano on "Romeo & Juliet," and saxophonist Donald Harrison, who is featured on "David & Bathsheba."
The best track is "The Denial" with its call/response musical movement and its funk bass. This track really catches a groove and grabs the listener. The entire album has the feel and mysticism that could only be created in New Orleans by New Orleans musicians. Every selection finds a blues-soaked jazz/funk groove that is driven by African rhythms and Latin undertones. Only in New Orleans could this musical gumbo of styles be meshed into one cohesive broth.
The CD also has enhanced CD-ROM capabilities which feature Wynton Marsalis in a video commentary and extensive liner notes. This is one well crafted album and lavishly produced package. It's a winner through and through.
Personnel: Ellis Marsalis - Piano
Bill Summers - Bata
Donald Harrison - Sax (Alto)
Richard Johnson - Piano
Delfeayo Marsalis - Trombone
Edwin Livingston - Bass
Irvin Mayfield - Trumpet
Aaron Fletcher - Sax (Alto), Sax (Soprano)
Jaz Sawyer - Drums