Talk about getting off on the wrong foot. On Individuation, trumpeter Thomas Marriott (and arranger Joe Locke) turn Joe Raposo's sunny, down-to-earth melody on the opening "Sing a Song into a pretentious, dirge-like hymn that robs it of its charm and manages to make the endeavor seem much longer than its actual 5:16 playing time. Marriott and his companionsincluding guests Locke on vibes and Rick Mandyck on alto saxtry their best to regroup after that ill-advised start, but are no better than moderately successful.
Marriott is evidently a capable player (for proof, note his expressive solo on Frank Churchill/Ned Washington's "Baby Mine ) but his choice of music is generally lackluster, to say the least. Besides the songs already mentioned, the group interprets two garden variety originals by Locke ("Domino City, "Returning ), two others by Marriott ("Mission and "Individuation, by far the best of the lot), Miles Davis' lethargic "Tout de Suite, and David Budway's syrupy "Love You Tonight, on which his piano is featured.
Locke's an accomplished player too, as he shows on "Mission, but that's the only chance he's given to flex his creative muscles. Mandyck, who has to fight a tendency to screech, dispenses lackluster solos on "Domino City, "Tout de Suite, and "Mission. The rhythm section (Budway, bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer John Bishop) is respectable but rarely tested by the unassuming charts.
Aside from a few nice solos by Marriott and his two likable compositions, there's not much here to spawn enthusiasm. It's a pleasant enough session, albeit on the lee side of lively, and it's reasonably well-played, but no more than that.
Track Listing: Sing a Song; Domino City; Tout de Suite; Baby Mine; Mission; Love You Tonight; Individuation; Returning (55:20).
Personnel: Thomas Marriott, trumpet, flugelhorn; Rick Mandyck (2, 3, 5), alto saxophone; Joe Locke (2, 4, 5, 8), vibraphone; David Budway, piano, Fender Rhodes; Jeff Johnson, bass; John Bishop, drums.