All aboard! All Aboard! The cover on Jason Marsalis' sophomore recording shows the young musician standing in the center of a train track in some unknown location. This would seem a little odd at first , but upon listening to the music, the idea behind the visual makes perfect sense. The musical trek will take the listener on a journey that will leave a memorable impression at the point of disembarkation.
The name Marsalis is a common household word in today's current music environment. Ellis, Delfeayo, Branford, and the minister of jazz himself, Wynton; have carried forth the great tradition of jazz for the past few decades. But who is Jason Marsalis? The youngest among his famous sibling brothers, you may not have easily recognized that he is an utterly talented jazz drummer and percussionist. The 24 year old has the skill and musicianship of a veteran. His first recording, The Year of the Drummer, received critical acclaim. He has played and recorded with notables such as Marcus Roberts, Marcus Printup, and with his brothers, Branford, Wynton, and father Ellis. He is an equal contributor to the hot Afro-Cuban Jazz group Los Hombres Calientes, which stars trumpter Irwin Mayfield and long time percussionist Bill Summers.
Encompassing rhythmic beats that directly affect the flow of music; jazz drummers make profound statements concerning timing and motion. Marsalis' latest recording displays his control of that art in a compelling way. Each selection will take the listener on a percussive excursion . On the first track, "There's a Thing Called Rhythm," the journey snakes from swing to blues, intricate time changes, and then to a unique drum solo by Marsalis. On the second piece, "Marakatu de Modernizer," the musical jaunt travels down the upbeat path like a Brazilian parade that swings. The musicians on this outing are all capable jazz attendants who exhibit consumate precision and talent on this entertaining journey. Tenor saxophonist John Ellis conveys a quiet skill and poise on the serene cut "On the First Occasion." Altoist Derek Douget, bassist Peter Harris and pianist Jonathan Lefcoski all display exquisite musicianship and creativity throughout the recording. This is all held together by the master rhythm Conductor; Jason Marsalis. Jason displays a kaleidoscope of skills on the drums. Every conceivable area of his drum kit is utilized adeptly. Each tune exhibits an expressive motion montage that carries the willing listener to a toe tapping destination.
Track Listing: 1. There's a Thing Called Rhythm 2. Marakatu de Modernizar 3. The Sweeper 4. On the First Occasion 5. The Steepistician 6. Discipline Strikes Again 7. Treasure 8. It Came from the Planet of Nebtoon 9. Short Story #1 10.Seven-Ay Pocky Way 11.(Hidden Bonus Track)
Personnel: Jason Marsalis - Percussion, Drums, Producer Peter Harris - Bass Derek Douget - Sax (Alto), Sax (Soprano) John Ellis - Sax (Tenor) Jeff Lefcoski - piano
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.