466

Wynton Marsalis: Live at the House of Tribes

Samuel Chell By

Sign in to view read count
Wynton Marsalis: Live at the House of Tribes
Wynton Marsalis' dominance seems at times so complete that it's easy to either become suspicious of the musician represented by the vita sheet, or take it as a given that he's the world's greatest trumpet player, if not music-maker. Live at the House of Tribes offers little conclusive evidence for either position, but it certainly makes the case for a non-controversial middle ground.

The program appears designed to appeal to a wide audience within the liberal spectrum of mainstream modern jazz. The opening selection, Monk's rarely heard "Green Chimneys," is a riff-driven, primarily single-chord piece introduced over an infectious boogaloo street beat—an ideal vehicle, in other words, for introducing the musical personalities of the band. "Just Friends" is taken at an uncharacteristically laid-back tempo, with Latin percussion and heavy emphasis on the off-beats. "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Donna Lee" are the two least compromising performances on the date, the latter conjuring up the ghosts of Bird, Diz, and 52nd Street halcyon days. "What Is This Thing Called Love," normally a bebop staple, returns to the accessible rhythmic feel of "Just Friends," and the closer, "2nd Line," is an elemental New Orleans blues march that's obviously a crowd-pleaser.

Listening to Marsalis on this occasion, I couldn't help but notice no small amount of Clark Terry's influence on his playing. Like Terry, he alternates between a classically pure sound and occasional vocal effects, and he's continually playful and engaging, teasing his audience with minimal virtuosity before cutting loose. If his playing lacks passion and drama, it more than compensates with consummate technical command and undeniable flare.

Although producer Delfeayo Marsalis seems to have had microphones placed at select tables to convince us that the audience was eating up every note, he's otherwise to be commended for the audio quality of the recording. The sound has depth and natural presence, without the annoying boosting of the bass that's endemic on recording sessions these days. The other musicians on the date—especially alto saxophonist Wessell Anderson—manage to impress while attending to their supportive roles. Overall, a solid entry by Mr. Marsalis and a spirited musical party by his ensemble.

Track Listing

Green Chimneys; Just Friends; You Don't Know What Love Is; Donna Lee; What Is This Thing Called Love; 2nd Line.

Personnel

Wynton Marsalis: trumpet; Wessell "Warmdaddy" Anderson: alto saxophone; Eric Lewis: piano; Kengo Nakamura: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums; Robert Rucker: tambourine; Orlando Q. Rodriguez: percussion.

Album information

Title: Live at the House of Tribes | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Waterwheel
Daniel Thatcher
New Leaves
Dan Rose, Claudine Francois
Astonishments
Steve Swell
A Swingin' Sesame Street Celebration
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton...
Transformation
Glenn Close/Ted Nash
Special Edition: Procedural Language
Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp
Ever Since The World Ended
Lauren White and the Quinn Johnson Trio
Rah! Rah!
Claire Daly

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.