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Delfeayo Marsalis

Jazzed Magazine • January 2007What's on Your Playlist? • January 24, 2007

What's On Your Playlist?

Few families can lay claim to a musical legacy as mythic in sweep as that of the Marsalis clan. Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis more than lives up to the high standards set by his older and (for now, at least#133;) more widely known siblings. Marsalis has leant his superb J.J. Johnson-flavored stylings to projects with the likes of Abdullah Ibrahim, Art Blakely’s Jazz Messengers, and Ray Charles. Delfeayo’s own solo albums are engaging and impressive works, including the recent release, Minions Domain (Troubador Jass).

1. “A Day in Copenhagen” – Slide Hampton/Dexter Gordon

“For my tastes, this is one of the definitive modern jazz trombone recordings. Recorded in 1969, Slide is at the top of his game and plays with amazing power, range, and creativity. His arrangements are well conceived and inspiring, as well. The group consist of older and younger generation players – always a plus in jazz.”

2. “Beyond the Wall” – Kenny Garrett

“Kenny Garrett has always been an interesting player to me because his sound and articulation remind me of Maceo Parker, while his musical prowess is more reminiscent of more modern players (Coltrane, Cannonball, Ornette).”

3. “Braggtown” – Branford Marsalis

“I am always amazed how Branford consistently puts out discs that only the most die-hard purist jazz fan could possibly want to hear. His sense of thematic development is always inspiring, especially on slower compositions.”

4. “De Staat” – Louis Andriessen

“Andriessen combines avant-garde classical with more of a popular American music style to good effect. The woodwind and brass sections move in parallel motion like Schoenberg or Ellington. It sounds a bit like a dramatic Hollywood underscore, but it’s cool.”

5. “You Won’t Forget Me” – Shirley Horn

“A great vocal CD that combines old school with new. It features Miles Davis’ last recorded solo and his playing is superbly fragile, lyrical, and resolute. This gem is wondrous for twilight-hour activity.”

6. “Blues-ette” – Curtis Fuller

“Trombonist Curtis Fuller and saxophonist Benny Golson made a number of great recordings as frontmen that capture the true essence of jazz: group communication, relaxed swing, and melodic virility. Curtis Fuller has played on so many great modern jazz recordings; he is a must-have for any jazz lovers’ playlist.”

7. “Hansel Gretel” – Englebert Humperdink

“This is a great opera that appeals to adults and kids alike. The balance between vocal and orchestral textures is expertly crafted.”

8. “Don’t Know Why” – Norah Jones

I first heard this song performed by a high school vocalist at a jazz competition. Her delivery was so sincere I realized she had learned it by ear from the CD; not from sheet music. This process (rote) is the single most lacking element in every jazz program in the country.”

9. “Now’s the Time” – Charlie Parker

“My favorite Bird recording – his sound is fat, swing is unparalleled, spirit is uplifting, and melodic construction is impeccable. The rhythm section supports perfectly and the material is well chosen.”

10. “Soultrane” – John Coltrane

“Probably the finest of Coltrane’s early works, this is a great monaural recording. Coltrane’s playing is lyrical, well organized, and intense, while the rhythm section provides the perfect atmosphere for thieves and lovers, throughout.”

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