Thomas Marriott demonstrates one of the most active and strong clear blue trumpet tones in jazz, so overt and apparent on his new "Flexicon" CD, and with Mark Taylor's hard edged saxophone play, Bill Anschell's particulate sound on both acoustic piano and Rhodes, along Jeff Johnson, the best bassist from the Great Northwest and versatile power drummer Matt Jorgensen.
They're terrific, right off the mark, in a tribute to the great Freddie Hubbard with an explosive version of Hubbard's "Take It To The Ozone." Vibraphonist Joe Locke adds more spark to this hard bop classic, giving it even more infective dynamic.
Dear Ladies and gentlemen, it's so cool and very right on, and not the joyful words spoken amongst the musicians on the bandstand. You'll know it for certain as you listen to Flexicon. "Masquelero" is a Wayne Shorter post bop standard from the modal years with Thomas Marriott staying within the confines of the cool and the very cool Bill Anschell on Rhodes, as Herbie Hancock would do. Since this is saxophone vehicle, Mark Taylor tears it up. Since I'm a modal fan, I'm like, a whirling dervish with a world view with Anschell, backing it up. "Spring Is Here" is an operative Clifford Brown word. Or a phrase. Or a waltz, that's Brave New World and as you leave the comforts of convention, outer space is cheering you on, as Tom Marriott makes his own statement. Tom, the incorrigible, plays the best flugelhorn on "Little Frances" and Jeff Johnson plays forceful with articulation on bass. (Not sure what the acoustic bass is,upright and middle ground, but he rips it up.) "Detour Ahead" says ole' to Marriott's muted sound, like Miles, he generates a new/old mode.
"You Only Live Twice," a curvacious James Bond ballad, only a good trumpet can wrap around with Joe Locke, sitting in on the conclave. It's workable, well versed and remarkable, re- harmonized, this will have Bond seniors citizens, sending off effusive e mail memorandums. "Circadian Rhythms" is a demonstration in counterpoint, the best of what we
owe and how we define the new past insurgency.
"Flexicon" is a celebration of the Hubbard/Shorter/Hancock lexicon. We dig it, rejoice in it, as the swinging modal days in the downstairs room on 45th, between First and Lexington.