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  1. Tin Roof Blues (9:41)

  2. Autumn Leaves (6:31)

  3. My Funny Valentine (8:45)

  4. Sesame Street Theme (6:26)

  5. If I Were A Bell (6:23)

  6. The Secret Love Affair (7:48)

  7. It Don’t Mean A Thing (7:28)

  8. Introducing The Blues (2:05)

  9. Blue Kalamazoo (5:29)

  10. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (6:58)



Jazz musician Delfeayo Marsalis is one of the top trombonists in the country today and one of the few that is leading his own band. This is Delfeayo’s first live album, recorded while on tour and visiting Kalamazoo, Michigan for a music workshop and a live concert at Western Michigan University. Delfeayo is joined by his father, legendary jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis, Jr., drummer Ralph Peterson, and bassist Reginald Veal. The quartet performs a familiar set of jazz standards and adds a few surprises.

Tin Roof Blues was written in 1923 and first recorded by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. Delfeayo leads off with a smooth and lazy trombone solo, punctuating the notes with a series of groans, growls and staccato horn effects. Ellis follows with a lean, probing piano solo, full of interesting dynamics and held together by an occasional left hand chord. Reginald follows with a slow, searching bass solo that sprawls over several octaves, accompanied by a light drum beat keeping him on course, before the group pulls it all together for the last verse. The same format is also used for several of the other tunes in this set. The group performs a straight ahead jazz version of Autumn Leaves for the first verse and then it becomes a series of improvised solos. My Funny Valentine was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for the 1937 musical Babes In Arms. Delfeayo performs a sensitively melodic version, beautifully supported by Ellis’s simple piano chords and a very light percussion effect.

Frank Loesser wrote If I Were A Bell for the 1950 musical Guys And Dolls. The tune gets an interesting arrangement highlighted by Reginald’s vigorous bowed bass solo. Ellis also provides a smooth and energetic piano interpretation, as he does with all of the numbers in this set: stylish and creative but never over-played. Ellis likes to add quotes from other songs into his solo mix, and he has a wealth of music in his head to work with. Born in 1934, Ellis began his musical career as a tenor saxophonist before switching to piano, and has performed with many of the top jazz musicians around New Orleans. Along the way the elder Marsalis also raised a family of top jazz musicians; sons Delfeayo, Branford, Wynton and Jason.

Blue Kalamazoo is an improvised blues number featuring two volunteers from the audience, scat singer Christian O’Neill Diaz and drummer Madison George, who smoothly pick up the beat and blend in without a hitch, to the delight of the audience. Songwriter Joe Raposo composed the tuneCan You Tell Me How to Get To Sesame Street, also known as the Sesame Street Theme, for the very first episode of the well-known children’s television show, which first aired in 1969. Since then the song has been heard daily by countless numbers of children, making it one of the most listened to songs in history. The quartet performs it with a funky blues style, featuring Delfeayo on muted trombone and Ralph Peterson on drums.

This music was recorded live on April 17, 2015 at Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University by radio station WMUK. Brian Heany was the recording engineer, and Martin Klemm was the recording supervisor. Patrick Smith performed the mixing and mastering at White Desk Studios. The sound quality is excellent. A colorfully illustrated booklet is included, with photographs from the group’s recent tour, and comments by journalist and filmmaker Lolis Eric Elie.

Bruce McCollum


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