5

Delfeayo Marsalis: Kalamazoo

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
How is it that we haven't been gifted a live album from trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis before? He's been such an important part of the fabric of this music, whether producing works of lasting significance for other jazz greats in the studio, sharing space with his famous family, or leading his Uptown Orchestra through a rousing set in the Crescent City, yet there's nothing in his leader discography to highlight what it's truly like to hear one of his shows in the flesh. Somehow, he just never got around to giving us a good representation of his work on stage. Until now, that is.

Kalamazoo captures Marsalis in April of 2015, in the midst of a mini-tour supporting The Last Southern Gentleman (Troubadour Jass, 2014). For the fourth concert of a seven-date jaunt, the trombonist landed at the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University. The band for the occasion—a first-rate quartet comprised of pianist-patriarch Ellis Marsalis, bassist Reginald Veal, and drummer Ralph Peterson—performed for a children's concert in the morning and then came back to deliver the standards-heavy main set presented here. It's every bit as classy as one might expect. From the thrilling opening crawl through "Tin Roof Blues" to a strutting "Sesame Street Theme" with some plunger mute magic all the way til the appropriately nostalgic "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans" closer, Delfeayo and company prove captivating.

While most of these songs have been performed ad infinitum, there's a certain level of stylistic legitimacy in these interpretations that you just don't get to experience very often. Hearing Delfeayo deliver wonderfully woozy lyrical lines, full-bore solos, and the occasional artful gliss is pure joy. Ditto for the opportunity to hear a New Orleans legend like Ellis doubling down on Ellington by throwing out a "Second Line" quote during "It Don't Mean A Thing," crafting a sterling "If I Were A Bell," and giving us all a lesson in jazz piano comportment. And the icing on the cake, of course, is encountering a rhythm team that's as on-the-money as Veal and Peterson.

In addition to the musical jubilance projected by this foursome, there's a generosity of spirit that shines through in what they do for the next generation. Delfeayo invites two WMU students—vocalist Christian O'Neill Diaz and drummer Madison George—to join the band in the act of spontaneous creation, resulting in the pleasingly down-the-middle "Blue Kalamazoo." It's a small gesture from the band leader's perch, but it's the type of experience that students need in order to better understand what the music is all about. While no single album can capture an artist's sound, soul, and spirit, this one does a fine job in giving us a glimpse of the real and true Delfeayo Marsalis.

Track Listing: Tin Roof Blues; Autumn Leaves; My Funny Valentine; Sesame Street Theme; If I Were A Bell; The Secret Love Affair; It Don't Mean A Thing; Introducing The Blues; Blue Kalamazoo; Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?.

Personnel: Delfeayo Marsalis: trombone; Ellis Marsalis, Jr.: piano; Reginald Veal: bass; Ralph Peterson: drums.

Title: Kalamazoo | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Troubadour Jass


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read No Matter Where Noir CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Out Of Silence CD/LP/Track Review Out Of Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Plodi CD/LP/Track Review Plodi
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Secret Language CD/LP/Track Review Secret Language
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Shamat CD/LP/Track Review Shamat
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "This Is The Uplifting Part" CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "avantNOIR" CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "My Head Is Listening" CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Atticus Live!" CD/LP/Track Review Atticus Live!
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Gledalec" CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Train Of Thought" CD/LP/Track Review Train Of Thought
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor