We’ve had our well-documented feuds with the Marsalis clan and we would like to, at last, bury the hatchet. Although our visions differ on some points, we, at Nextbop, believe the Marsalis classicist philosophy to be an integral and important part of the jazz community’s current discourse. We are all just trying to do what we think is best for the music and, in all honesty, a little swing never hurt anyone. On this note, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, at the helm of a knockout quartet featuring bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Ralph Peterson, and pianist and patriarch, Ellis Marsalis recently dropped his first ever live album entitled Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo, out now via Marsalis’ own Troubadour Jass Records, documents a single performance, recorded in the midst of a seven-day tour supporting Marsalis’ The Last Southern Gentlemen. “Live recordings are important because they truly capture the essence of who you are as a person and how you play as a musician,” Marsalis says. “Different artists create their definitive live recordings at different points in their career. For example, my brother Branford was 31 when he recorded Bloomington. Wynton was 42 when he was finally captured on Live at the House of Tribes. This is my equivalent to those recordings; it gives the listener a true understanding of who I am, how my shows are structured.”
The bulk of the album consists of well-known standards called off the cuff, including such favorites as “My Funny Valentine,” “Autumn Leaves,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing.” Marsalis’ sultry, swaying “The Secret Love Affair” is reprised from The Last Southern Gentlemen, while the show closes, appropriately enough, with “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans,” an ode to the city with which the Marsalis clan is synonymous.
“In the jazz world these days, there’s a lot of attention being paid to more introverted ways of playing,” Marsalis explains. “We need more leaders like Count Basie or Louis Armstrong. Not that we have to imitate those older styles, but we have to provide the foundations of entertainment and swing in jazz performance. That, to me, is the importance of this album: it’s inside, it’s in the pocket, it’s soulful, and you can feel the audience engagement. Yes, I think we have an obligation to represent the entire history of American music whenever possible because, one, we’ve studied it and two, it allows the younger musicians the opportunity to play more avant-garde. Someone has to hold down the fort!”
Check out the lead single “If I Were a Bell” below and cop the album if it’s your cup of tea. We need to support each and every single member of our community even if we don’t always get along.
“I guess it’s been about fifteen years. Every time I’m standing up in a group of people, they look at me and say ‘So how you and your brother getting along?’ And I say ‘Do you have a brother? Or do you have sisters?’ They say ‘Yeah’. I say ‘How y’all getting along?’ And they say ‘Ah yeah.. Ok…’ Cain and Abel.” – Wynton Marsalis