Recorded in 2002, Minions Dominion features trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis with two quintets in a program of straight-ahead bliss. His compositions burst with the pride of tradition while emphasizing innermost feelings in every bar. Drummer Elvin Jones carries both quintets with a powerful rhythmic drive that just won't quit.
Marsalis solos with authority, inserting musical quotes spontaneously as the mood takes him in different directions. His driving bebop lines recall the powerful energy and timbre of J.J. Johnson, while his lovely ballad approach provides a beautiful setting.
Alto saxophonist Donald Harrison lends a brisk timbre to three selections, while Branford Marsalis colors the others with his tenor and soprano. Most selections feature the leader's quintets with cohesive offerings, while "Weaver of Dreams is offered as a quartet piece without piano. It serves as the program's high point. Here, trombone and alto sashay along a rustic trail bordered by walking bass and a constant drum tirade. Veteran drummer Jones was in fine form, and each of the others benefited from his authority.
Branford Marsalis adds a lovely tenor to "Just Squeeze Me that makes it stand out for its fluid texture. The two brothers work compatibly, but there's a big difference in what happens naturally during their improvising solos. Delfeayo relies on outside quotes from old, familiar bebop standards, while Branford enthuses spontaneously with newer ideas.
Elvin Jones and Branford Marsalis each add a half star to the album's rating. It's a team effort that wins collective smiles all around the room.
Track Listing: Brer Rabbit; Lone Warrior; If You Only Knew; Minions Dominion; Just Squeeze Me; Weaver of Dreams; Lost in the Crescent.
Personnel: Delfeayo Marsalis: trombone; Branford Marsalis: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Donald Harrison: alto saxophone; Mulgrew Miller, Sergio Salvatore: piano; Robert Hurst III, Edwin Livingston, Eric Revis: bass; Elvin Jones: drums.