4

Thomas Marriott: Romance Language

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Thomas Marriott: Romance Language
Trumpeter Thomas Marriott moved back to Seattle after the requisite New York stint, where he worked with Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau band, the Chico O'Farrill Orchestra, and vibraphonist Joe Locke. Back on west coast home ground, he connected with the Seattle-based Origin Records, where he released ten top-notch albums as a leader, including Individuation (2005), Crazy: The Music Of Willie Nelson (2008)Constraints and Liberations (2010), and East West Trumpet Summit (2010), a teaming with fellow trumpeter Ray Vega.

Marriott's previous releases reflect what he and his bands do live: take risks and create excitement. Romance Language, his eleventh release for the Origin Records label, reins this approach in, with an attempt to showcase "the simple beauty of a well-played melody." With this set of gorgeously executed ballads, he could not have been more successful at that attempt.

The band is a perfect conglomeration. Marriott on trumpet and flugelhorn, joined by drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson—the Origin Records house rhythm section guys—vibraphonist Joe Locke, from Marriott's New York days, and Ryan Cohen on keys and programming (more on Cohen later).

Most any artist in any format tries to create some form of beauty. Romance Language, with its focus on the melodies of ten well-chosen (sometimes surprisingly chosen) tunes, offers up a transcendent tranquility and purity of approach that glows with a lovely and understated allure.

Pop songster and soundtrack composer Randy Newman's "Dexter's Tune," from the 1990 Awakenings (Columbia Pictures), opens the album, walking a line between melancholy and hopefulness. Also included are two tunes from the pen of vibraphonist Locke; one from the disc's co-producer Cohen, one from Stephen Sondheim, another from vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, guitarist Pat Metheny and more. Then the closer, a surprise: Harold Arlen's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Each tune shaped and produced flawlessly.

Now, back to Ryan Cohen, who, as well as playing keys, provides the lush-but-subtle orchestrations and the "software instrument performances and programming." The sophistication of his contribution is understated but immense. Some of the post-recording accentuations of Creed Taylor's CTI Records label (often unfairly maligned) of the late '60s come to mind, with the translucent sweeteners and transformative and soothing string-like backdrops.

All those words, and no mention yet of Marriott's horn-playing. So let's go: straight at you, relaxed, pure-toned—open horn or muted—and spot-on in the rendering of the simple beauty of the melodies. His strongest recording to date.

Track Listing

Dexter's Tune; Forgiveness; I Remember Sky; Piggyback; Always And Forever; Kampala Moon; Ghost In This House; Now; Alibi Room; Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Personnel

Thomas Marriott: trumpet, flugelhorn; Joe Locke: vibraphone, drum programming (9); Ryan Cohen: piano, fender rhodes, orchestration & software performances, programing; Jeff Johnson: bass; John bishop: drums.

Album information

Title: Romance Language | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Origin Records

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read End Of Summer
End Of Summer
Espen Eriksen Trio
Read Facing Duality
Facing Duality
Maria Baptist and Jan von Klewitz
Read Stateless
Stateless
Tashi Dorji

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place 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 effort that will help musicians 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 bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

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