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Marshall Gilkes

Jazzed Magazine • March 2012What's on Your Playlist? • March 28, 2012

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Marshall Gilkes began playing trombone at the age of ten and hasn’t looked back.

A graduate of The Juilliard School as well as Interlochen Arts Academy, Gilkes was a 2003 finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. He made his recording debut in 2004 with the acclaimed Edenderry followed by a 2008 quintet recording, Lost Words.  Marshall has performed at jazz festivals and venues throughout Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, and taught and presented master classes at institutions around the world.

In addition to his work as a leader, Gilkes has performed or recorded with Richard Bona, Edmar Castaneda, Billy Cobham, Dave Douglas, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and the Village Vanguard Orchestra. He is featured on Maria Schneider’s Grammy Award winning CD, Sky Blue, as well as CDs by John Fedchock, David Berger and Edmar Castaneda and many others. After living and working in New York for 12 years, he moved to Cologne, Germany where he is a member of the WDR Big Band. He is an artist for Edwards Instruments.

Gilkes’ new album, Sound Stories (Alternate Side Records) featuring Donny McCaslin, Adam Birnbaum, Yasushi Nakamura and Eric Dobb, showcases him as a distinctive composer of persuasive narrative power and a soloist with boundless melodic appeal.

1. Gently Disturbed – Avishai Cohen Trio

After hearing this trio live in Eilat, Israel a few years ago, I immediately purchased this record and it has been in my playlist ever since.  The folk-like melodies are beautiful and the rhythms and grooves they get into are incredible, but they do it in a way where it never sounds complicated.  There is never a dull moment.  All of the tracks relate to one another making for a record that you really have to listen to from start to finish.

2. Meant to Be – John Scofield Quartet

I have been a huge Scofield fan for a long time, but I never had this record until recently.  We did a project with him at WDR a few months back and played a few of the tunes from this record.  I’ve been occasionally playing the tune, “Go Blow“ from this record at sessions.  Really fun changes to blow over.  Scofield writes great melodies, and I love the way he phrases.  So natural!

3. Don’t Try This at Home – Michael Brecker

I always return to this and his other records for inspiration.  He makes me want to practice!  Check out the first track, “Itsbynne Reel.”

4. Jazz Mass – Ike Sturm

This record is beautiful – full of great players and writing.  Sometimes I put it on in the morning to get my day off to a good start.

5. Heavyweight Champion, Disc Three – John Coltrane

When I graduated from high school my parents gave me the Heavyweight Champion box set as a graduation gift.  Recently after hearing a colleague of mine playing “Fifth House” I got out disc three to check out the tune.  I love practicing Coltrane Changes, and this one is based on “What is this Thing Called Love.”  After listening to the disc, I actually ended up learning Ornette Coleman’s “The Blessing” first.  The disc has music from three different sessions and bands on it, and it is amazing how differently he plays in each setting.

6. The Next Step – Kurt Rosenwinkel

I just recently got this album back out.  When I first moved to NYC, I used to go see this group play at Smalls as often as possible.  Rosenwinkel’s writing always sounds fresh to me.  This record has a lot of the compositions that that they played at those concerts.  It’s funny how a record can remind you of where you were when you first started listening to it.

7. Ravel String Quartet – Belcea Quartet

Really incredible piece of music.  Incredible themes, development, and for lack of an appropriate classical term, “groove!”   The pizzicato sections in the 2nd movement always amaze me.

8. Bang Zoom – Bobby McFerrin

I love the pureness of McFerrin’s voice.  It’s always refreshing to hear.  This album was produced by Russel Ferrante and McFerrin, and features the other members of the Yellowjackets as well.  The record has a great spirit.

9. Mood Swing – Joshua Redman

When I was in high school I saw Redman’s band live a few times, and it was really inspiring as a young musician.  I’ve had this record since it came out.  I didn’t listen to it for a while, and then put it on again recently.  There is a track on this record called, “Rejoice.”  When I was still in New York, I used to keep it on my iPod.  Every now and then I would listen to it after a bad gig to get me back in a good mood.  And it worked!

10.   Los Grandes Exitos (Greatest Hits) – Isaac Delgado

I’ve been a huge fan of Isaac Delgado for a while now.  He was one of the founding members of the band NG La Banda, who are credited with creating timba.  I keep on coming back to the track, “La Sandungita” from this record.  The horn writing is incredible, and Isaac Delgado’s voice is smooth and effortless.

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