Thomas Marriott: Human Spirit (2011)
Marriott provides five original compositions to the three standards making up Human Spirit, opening with an arrangement of "You Don't Know What Love Is" that could have been the product of a Chet Baker methamphetamine speedball. Marriott takes the ballad at about twice its normal tempo, breaking the melody into jagged pieces, fluidly following, one after another. The organ trio accompaniment sounds modern and progressive, tastefully greasy without being unhealthy.
Marriott's trumpet sound is as solid as it is round. Even at high velocity, Marriott holds his notes together, a squeak or squawk being rare or non-existent. But Marriott is not the only principle here: alto saxophonist Mark Taylor, an Origin Arts mainstay, provides saxophone wares that are all over the map, from straight bop to beyond, wailing plaintively on "Hiding in Public," while hitting a simmer on the minor-key blues, "Yakima."
Gary Versace lends a new brand of organ to this date, one that is old and new. He provides the roux that holds this rich assembly together. His contribution is dirty funk on Miles Davis' "The Brown Hornet," all sideways fashioned and angular, pushing the envelope while remaining between the lines of the song.
Human Spirit works in all quarters, hitting on all cylinders while delivering a bang-up good jazz time. Hopefully this is the future.
Track Listing: You Don't Know What Love Is; Hiding in Public; Human Spirit; Low Key Lightly; Side Walk; Yakima; Lisa; The Brown Hornet.
Personnel: Thomas Marriott: trumpet; flugelhorn; Mark Taylor: alto saxophone; Gary Versace: B-3 organ; Matt Jorgensen: drums.
Record Label: Origin Records