Delfeayo Marsalis, Warren Wolf
January 1, 1970The usual pair of pieces again this week. The Jazz Notes profile is of Delfeayo Marsalis, the trombone-playing younger brother of Wynton and Branford. The jazz pick for Calendar was the young vibraphonist Warren Wolf, who'll be bringing the veteran pianist Mulgrew Miller with him to Scullers next Wednesday.
Enjoy the Super Bowl, if you're football-inclined.
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Horn aplenty for yet another Marsalis
By Bill Beuttler, Globe Correspondent | February 3, 2006
That Delfeayo Marsalis hasn't spent as much time in the spotlight as his elder brothers Wynton and Branford is, he says, a function of his personality. Ditto that when it came time to choose an instrument to play: Delfeayo picked the much-neglected trombone.
Delfeayo (pronounced DELF-e-o) has always gravitated toward supporting roles. He studied studio production and jazz performance at Berklee College of Music, then spent the late 1980s producing albums for his brothers, as well as pianist Marcus Roberts and others. In 1992, he broke up his own fledgling band to hit the road with drum great Elvin Jones, spending much of the next decade touring with Jones's Jazz Machine. His comfort just beyond the spotlight explains why Delfeayo, 40, is now readying only his third CD as a leader, an album featuring one of Jones's final studio performances.
"I think the instrument mirrors the type of personality we all have in the family," muses Delfeayo, who leads a quintet at Scullers tonight and tomorrow that includes yet another Marsalis brother, 28-year-old drummer Jason. "You know, in a New Orleans traditional band, the trumpet always has the lead. That's just how it is. He's like the quarterback of the band. And that's just in Wynton's nature to be that way. And then the saxophone and the clarinet's job is to make the trumpet sound good, and Branford, he's just to me the ultimate, perfect sideman: Any situation you put him in, he's going to know how to make it sound right.
"And then the role of the trombone," he continues, "is to try to connect and to keep things together. And that's just kind of my role, not only in the family but just as a producer you have to have that kind of ability to keep things together."
Marsalis assembled a cast of all-stars on his forthcoming CD, tentatively titled "Minions Dominion." Brother Branford and Donald Harrison play sax, Mulgrew Miller is on piano, and Robert Hurst and Eric Revis share bass duties. Then there's Elvin Jones on drums. The disc was recorded in 2003, before the legendary drummer's health began to fail.
"I think he knew that this would be one of his final recordings," Marsalis says. "Elvin really gave 100 percent of himself to the recording, and it's really a special event."
Part of what made it special is the wide range of material on the album, which allowed Jones to reveal his encompassing connection to jazz history. Marsalis expects the disc out by late April or May.
In the meantime, Marsalis will showcase material from the album at Scullers, joined by Clarence Johnson III on saxophone, Victor "Red" Atkins on piano, Edwin Livingston on bass, and brother Jason on drums. (If Johnson and Livingston look familiar, it could be because they both had on-camera roles in the movie "Ray.") The band will also play tunes from Marsalis's 1992 debut CD, "Pontius Pilate's Decision," which Marsalis never got around to performing outside of New Orleans because of his decision to tour with Jones.
Jason Marsalis drummed on "Pontius Pilate" as a teenager, and he later cofounded the group Los Hombres Calientes. He's played for years in Marcus Roberts's trio and is now getting ready to move to New York and see how far his talent takes him there. So how does Jason's drum kit fit his personality?
"Well, the younger brother — like Elvin was the youngest in the family [behind brothers Hank and Thad] — they usually play drums," says Delfeayo. "That's how you keep up — you can beat on the table."
Delfeayo Marsalis performs at 8 and 10:30 tonight and tomorrow at Scullers. Tickets $24. Call 617-562-4111 or visit www.scullersjazz.com.
© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
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Calendar Jazz Picks
Scullers, Doubletree Guest Suites Boston, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston. 617-562-4111. 8 & 10 p.m. $16, $56 with dinner.
Warren Wolf is a familiar face to some Bostonians by now. He spent four years at Berklee College of Music studying vibraphone with Dave Samuels, and while still in school landed a steady gig a few blocks down Massachusetts Avenue at Wally's Café. Wolf, 26, is now gaining notoriety farther afield. Last year saw the release of his debut album as a leader, "Incredible Jazz Vibes," and if that title seems a tad on the cocky side, consider the sidemen he managed to corral for it: pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Vicente Archer, and drummer Kendrick Scott. All three will be on hand next week for Wolf's Scullers debut, which Wolf's manager is calling a "partial" tribute to Milt Jackson and the Modern Jazz Quartet. The presence of Miller is a particular coup. Another of Archer's many employers, Robert Glasper, calls Miller his favorite pianist, and Miller's two recent "Live at Yoshi's" CDs offer ample evidence of what Glasper finds so impressive. Miller is also a key component of Ron Carter's sublime Golden Striker Trio, a fact that could have added resonance next week, considering that there's no group out there closer in spirit to the MJQ than Carter's Golden Striker contingent.
Fri 2-3 Ron Carter Quartet Carter's Golden Striker Trio employs no drummer - just Miller and guitarist Russell Malone. But sometimes the great bassist goes the other way and ramps up the percussion rather than omitting it. His quartet on this pass through town will have Stephen Scott on piano, Payton Crossley on drums, and Roger Squitero on percussion. Regattabar, Charles Hotel, One Bennett St., Cambridge. 617-395-7757. 7:30 and 10 p.m. $25. Repeats Sat.