The Last Southern Gentlemen taps into the old world elegance that is improvisational music and rescues melody from the jazz witness protection program.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
There is an unmistakable old world charm to the latest offering from Delfeayo Marsalis. Along with his father Ellis, bassist John Clayton and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith there is a relaxed almost gentile hybrid created of southern hospitality combined with the simple beauty of timeless melodies. A back to the future look at what some might consider "old school" jazz but with a decidedly forward thinking presentation.
This is a lyrical conversation of the highest order where all ensemble participants are offering their own perspective for a collective presentation that continues to embrace the fact that simplicity may be the ultimate in sophistication. Ballads are of course key with exquisite performances on "My Romance" and "I'm Confessin'." The Crescent City spirit comes alive with a blistering romp on the iconic "Sesame Street" which comes full circle with a cameo from drum legend Herlin Riley. Delfeayo's laid back groove with "The Secret Love Affair" and father Ellis's "If I Were A Bell" may be the two crowning jewels of this improvisational triumph.
Some records simply review themselves...
Tracks: The Secret Love Affair; Autumn Leaves; She's Funny That Way; Sesame Street; I'm Confessin'; But Beautiful; Speak Low; Nancy; The Man With Two Left Feet; That Old Feeling; My Romance; If I Were A Bell; I Cover The Waterfront.
Personnel: Delfeayo Marsalis: Trombone; Ellis Marsalis: Piano; John Clayton: Bass; Marvin "Smitty" Smith: Drums.