Red Raspus Music

Home of Musician and Educator David Marriott, Jr.

David Marriott, Jr. is a jazz trombonist, composer/arranger, educator, and blogger. A two-time Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award recipient and winner of the 1999 National Jazz Trombone Competition, David is active in a variety of Seattle jazz groups, including the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Zubatto Syndicate and his own critically-acclaimed groups Septology and Triskaidekaband.

Filtering by Category: Reviews

New Food for the CD Player - Steve Grossman "Perspective"

I try to stop into Silver Platters on Queen Anne whenever I'm in the neighborhood, so I pulled in after a nice dinner at my folks for a quick browse -- just taking a look, I told myself. These are always famous last words, as I somehow ended up at the cash register with this Steve Grossman reissue -- one I have never seen on CD, I might add. Steve Grossman's "Perspective" was released by Atlantic Records in 1979 and presents Grossman in a big budget production for the first time as a leader. He revisits some of the material from the Stone Alliance library, but each is given a fresh sound in the expanded group. Onaje Allan Gumbs also contributes arrangements on what would basically be Grossman's "final" record as a leader for a while, and certainly from this period. My brother found this on vinyl a few years ago -- just when I thought I had already found all the old Steve Grossman -- and when I saw it on CD, I had to snag the only copy on the outside chance that it was the last copy in print. Thanks to Wounded Bird Records for reissuing this monster!

Thankfully, you can pick it up on Amazon, but it doesn't appear to be available digitally -- you're out of luck if you can't play a CD for this one!

Wayne Horvitz and NY Composers Orchestra West at The Triple Door

I didn't think I'd be able to attend much of the 2009 Earshot Jazz Festival as I've been completely tied up with The Drowsy Chaperone at The 5th Avenue, but with my Monday night free, and my brother in the band, I decided to check out Wayne Horvitz and NY Composers Orchestra West at The Triple Door. While I did bring my camera, I sadly didn't bring anything for note taking, so I missed getting the titles, but to be honest, it's not important. What was important about this concert was the music of composer and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz. I used to go see his band Zony Mash at the OK Hotel and revelled in the groove, but always remembered seeing a similar incarnation of tonight's band around ten years ago. My tastes have certainly broadened since then, and with a focus on Wayne's writing this time, I was even more taken with it.  It truly was an all-star band:

Trumpets: Brad Allison, Ron Miles, Thomas Marriott

French Horn: Tom Varner

Trombones: Chris Stover, Nelson Bell

Saxophones: Mark Taylor, Skerik, Briggan Krauss, Hans Teuber, Jim De Joie, Doug Wieselman

Guitar: Tim Young

Drums and Percussion: Bobby Previte

Bass: Phil Sparks

Piano and Conductor: Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb

The music was largely composed with sparse moments for improvisation, although there were a few extended solos -- generally by the saxophonists or Wayne. I found that the program truly reflected the seeming dual musical personalities of Wayne Horvitz: on one side, a deep love of groove, blues, and a fun-loving jam; on the other, a deep compositional complexity that understands the bigger ideas of drama, counterpoint, density, and development. Added to all this comes the icing of improvisation, usually in the context in simple harmonies or free open sections. For the most part, I would use words like "progressive" or "experimental" to describe the music, but I also took away the feeling of "energy" and "freedom" from the music as well. The epic "River of Whiskey" was a highlight, as was the sheer energy of Briggan Krauss during his one solo of the night. But it's hard to pick a highlight at all, because the improvisation really served the compositions -- a concept strangely lacking in much of jazz music today. Hopefully, it also reminded the listening public that the big band is not dead, it's just rare to hear something new. Well, we did tonight. Enjoy the slideshow!


Drunken Masters at Seamonster Lounge

I wasn't planning on going out tonight, but after getting a fair amount of work and practicing done, I looked online to see what was happening, and found this recurring gig at the Seamonster Lounge, a place I have only been once before, and as a performer at that. I decided that it was providence and hopped in the old Jetta and headed to Wallingford.

Drunken Masters is a trio comprised of Joe Doria, Mike Stone, and Thaddeus Turner. I've known organist Joe Doria (right) for over ten years, and I've always known him be a spark of energy in any musical situation he is a part of, from the early days with my group, the Marriott Jazz Quintet, to my more recent efforts with him in Marc Fendel's Swampdweller. Joe -- known to some as "Hernia Joe" -- is just a straight-up organ bad-ass; I know no other way to describe him. Mike Stone is a ultra-versatile drummer who can play any kind of music you can name, and then some you can't -- I first met Mike when I was 19 at the UW, and I'm always bumping into him across wide array of musical styles, from Wayne Horvitz to punk-rock-jam to whatever. And of course there's Thaddeus, who most people know from Maktub, but he's a guitar force to be reckoned with in any band. I remember seeing and playing with him at the 700 Club back in the late 1990s doing all kinds of things with Vocoders and synths and lots of other toys and goodies.

If you have yet to visit the Seamonster, be sure to stop by on a Thursday. Drunken Master has a great vibe with a real improvisatory aesthetic that keeps every tune flowing from a fresh energy and place. Tunes? Who needs tunes! These guys just need a point to jump off from and they are good to go. Can you say Drunken Master Bandwagon?

Mark Bordenet Band / Being John McLaughlin at ToST

I love this place, ToST. It's got a funky vibe, not too yuppie but not too grungy, and lots of great music. Last time I was here was the first time, and for my second visit -- well, let's just say I'll be here ALOT.

Mark Bordenet (see right) is an old friend from here in Seattle and the jazz deparment at the University of Washington. He's been living in Zoo York for a while now, and hopped back into town to play some of the music from his upcoming recording, Everything is Changing...All the Time. Backed by Ryan Burns, Mark Taylor and Geoff Harper, the group made their way through many Bordenet originals, as well as some music from Led Zeppelin. The originals had a great mix of pop-sensibility with jazz phrasing and concept; the simple, folk-like melodies that Bordenet has written work well in his hybrid jazz-pop-groove gumbo. I'll be playing some of Bordenet's new album on the 10th episode of my podcast, Seattle Jazzscene, so be sure to check that out if you'd like to hear what I heard.

And if that set of music wasn't enough, I got to hear Being John McLaughlin for the first time! While they started with Miles' Eighty-One, the rest was all Mahavishnu -- Rick Mandyck looked and sounded like he was channelling that 1970s rock-jazz thing (one might even say possessed!). With Matt Jorgensen and Rick Mandyck added to the already solid group (and Bordenet getting a chance for a drink), Being John McLaughlin, despite other claims, is still and always will be the first and best Mahavishnu cover band. And you know what -- I'll put money down on that! Take me up on it! I double-dawg dare ya!

Christian Eckhart Quartet at the Musicquarium

It's always nice when a local series like the Origin Mondays at the Triple Door's Musicquarium bring in a new artist from outside our Northwest scene, and Christian Eckert was a very welcome surprise. A talented guitarist from Germany and a recording partner of drummer Matt Jorgensen, Eckert's group was finishing up their second set with the classic standard, Invitation. With Jeff Johnson and Mark Taylor rounding out the quartet, I was virtually assured a great third set of music.

Sadly, the crowd was a particularly unappreciative group, with barely an applause when a given tune completed. It even got to the point where during a bass solo on Monk's Rhythm-a-ning, a group of people launched into a loud and racous version of Happy Birthday -- RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF JEFF'S SOLO! The short third set of Rhythm-a-ning, an original minor blues by Eckert, and the Hank Mobley swinger, This I Dig of You, were fabulous, to say the least, with each player shining in their own way. I can only wonder exactly what audience the Musicquarium is trying to cater to: the listener, or the drinker...

With that said, I found Christian Eckert to be a solid and entertaining guitar player. I'm not sure that the style of this band best fit the way that he plays, as the more up-tempo bop-oriented fare didn't seem his forte, but he left me wanting to hear more and investigate his depth further. I hope you will do the same: check out his trio CD with Matt Jorgensen and Gary Versace, or visit his website (I hope you can read German).

Rick Mandyck Trio at Oddfellows Hall

People, people, people. I know somebody out there reading this will join me in helping to support Rick Mandyck's OddJazz project at the Ballard Oddfellow's Hall. I made it for the second set to find a yet again empty room -- DAYUM! The stellar set of Chick Corea's 500 Miles High, Jim Pepper's Witchi Tai To, Wayne Shorter's This is For Albert, and Jeff Johnson's Machu Picchu was fabulous, but one has to ask the question: if a musician plays a note in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, will the forest listen? Next OddJazz: December 4th -- BE THERE!

Rick Mandyck Quartet at the Musicquarium

It's the week before Halloween, and with my dad in a bachelor mode tonight with my mom out of town, we headed to the Musicquarium to listen to four of our local favorites: Rick Mandyck, Jeff Johnson, John Bishop, and my brother Thomas. The Origin Mondays at the Triple Door's Musicquarium are always fun, and this night in particular, as a considerate, listening audience was present (as opposed to the potential inconsiderate, talking audience that tends to be present).

After scarfing down some Seven Flavor Beef, the band launched into a groovy version of Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise. They followed this with a saxophonist favorite, Take the Coltrane, side-stepped through a beautiful ballad (can't remember the name, now, of course), pounded away through Rick's composition, Side Air Bags, and ended the set with the Stanley Clarke composition that seems to make the rounds in every Seattle jazz group, Why Wait.

It should be noted that the Earshot Jazz Festival was in full effect in the large room with Dave Douglas and his Fatty Arbuckle tribute project. Dave took the time to check out a scorching trumpet solo by Thomas during the second set on Frank Foster's composition, Simone. He shoulda stuck around! The second set evolved with Rick's little ditty, Short Shorts, Wayne Shorter's This is For Albert, and closed the set off with more Wayne, this time something from the Miles Davis book, Fall. The short third set was made up of McCoy Tyner's The Greeting, Joe Henderson's Inner Urge, and Claudine Francois' Trapeze.

I love this band -- it presents four very unique, defined, and adventurous improvisors in one band, and yet they are all able to function in what seems like a position of comfort. Most of the time, the all-star concept doesn't work, for whatever reasons, but there is an air of mutual respect among these four that really makes for great music, and great music-making. John Bishop seems constantly involved with making something happen, even if that means taking himself out of the equation. Jeff Johnson, whether improvising from the melody or taking a more free approach, always contributes the right note for the soloist's melody. Thomas -- well, he is my brother, but I can't say enough about his playing of late; he sounds mature, confident, and fearless -- a winning combination for any trumpet-player. And then there is Rick Mandyck -- I've written so much about him on this blog already, but he keeps me coming back for more and more and more. If I haven't said it before (which I know I have), I'll say it again: go hear Rick Mandyck.

McCoy Tyner Trio at Jazz Alley

There isn't much you can say about the great McCoy Tyner that hasn't already been said -- he's a true piano virtuoso, a consumate composer, a seasoned bandleader, and a gifted and inventive improvisor. The Sunday night set was comprised of Tyner originals and classic standards, and while I've always enjoyed his open-harmony composition, the real highlight for me was his solo performance of We'll Be Together Again, which he recorded on one of his classic Impulse sides, Night of Ballads and Blues. His spontaneous reharmonizing of the tune, with a very free and exploratory introduction that almost gave the illusion of another tune, was jaw-dropping in my mind; the McCoy Tyner that everyone hears on the classic Coltrane albums is very different from the McCoy Tyner of 2005, and I think that his solo piano playing defines his own, unique style of today much more so than the trio rendition of Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit, one of his more recent, but nonetheless "classic", compositions. Not to mention that Charnett Moffett, also an extremely virtuosic bassist, seemed to "dumb down" the tunes in his solos -- Tyner is a chance taker and still proves to be that, while Moffett and the drummer (whose name I did not catch) were very safe, sometimes to the point of borderline corny-ness (for my taste).

While looking for a picture to add to this posting, I found a review of McCoy Tyner's trio at Jazz Alley from 1996 -- written by my brother Thomas for the University of Washington Daily. I was surprised to see how much we agreed on McCoy, despite the reviews being almost 10 years apart -- a true testement to McCoy -- and how the solo piano-playing really affected us both. To McCoy Tyner -- still pluggin' away, still kickin' ass and takin' names, and still a gentleman.

BMW Trio and Kathy Moore Situation at ToST

ToST is "Fremont's only martini bar / restaurant featuring live music and DJs six nights a week in a smoke-free (inside), industrial chic atmosphere." Yeah -- I'll go with that! Not nearly has yuppie as I expected after looking at the website, so I was pleasantly surprised upon my first arrival at the club.

As I had just come from the Musicquarium, I was already revved up and ready to hear more music, and the BMW Trio surely kept me in fifth gear. Made up of Ryan Burns on organ, Rick Mandyck on guitar, and Reade Whitwell on drums, the BMW Trio is SMOKIN'! If I didn't know all these guys and their playing really well, I might have thought I was listening to a blues band if I had walked in during the set. They opened with a solid organ-groove blues -- sadly, I didn't get the title or any information about it. They continued with a crazy blues in 19/8 (or a bar of 6/4 and a bar or 7/8) composed by John McLaughlin called Binky's Beam, recorded on his 1969 release Extrapolation. Talk about crazy! I'd be ready to shoot myself after a chorus on this tune, but these guys made some emotional music come out of it. Mandyck's The Way Back was a nice contrast, finally giving more of a jazz feel to the group sound. The set closed with Burns' Freedom from Commitment, a burnout-blues that gave the set a great bookend. A solid band with a solid set -- find out where these guys are playing and check 'em out!

The second set was by the Katherine Moore Situation, a rock-tinged group with Kathy Moore on guitar, Geoff Harper on bass, Reade Whitwell on drums and Ryan Burns on keyboards. While the tune titles weren't announced, I'm really excited about this group -- I've known Kathy for years, and with this group she seems super-comfortable, the songs were varied and well-executed, and she really knows what to do in front of a band. Her guitar playing has really found a voice in this style, and I can't wait to hear the group's upcoming release. From strong, hard rock grooves, to bluesier tinges and darker tones, The Katherine Moore Situation is a group on the rise -- hopefully they can get some recognition beyond the friends and jazz connections that were there last night. Go Kathy!

No Room For Squares at the Musicquarium

Monday night I had a chance to hear a ton of great music at two different venues. My first stop was at the Musicquarium at the Triple Door to hear Jim Sisko's quintet, No Room for Squares. Jim Sisko is a solid trumpet and flugelhorn player who has been on the Seattle scene for about ten years, both as a teacher and perfomer. He continues to bring forth solid bands steeped in the hard bop tradition.

I made it down to the club just in time to hear the second set. No Room for Squares is comprised of: Jim Sisko (tpt), Mark Taylor (tnr), Matt Jorgensen (drm), Geoff Cooke (bs), and Victor Noriega (elpno). The quintet opened with Lee Morgan's Mr. Kenyatta, a classic latin groove from Morgan's Blue Note album, Search for the New Land. Noriega and Taylor sounded especially strong, with Noriega keeping his Rhodes patch for the duration of the set. I mentioned to Taylor that his sound was "huskier" than I remembered, and he mentioned making a slight change in his reed selections -- good choice! The group continued with Sisko's arrangement of Falling in Love with Love, a great standard that just doesn't seem to get played as much as others. Sisko really shined on the classic ballad, Skylark, with a strong, fluid flugelhorn sound and a strong dose of blues inflection. Noriega also shined on this one, and while his physical mannerisms left me a little distracted, his strong playing really blew me away -- I've heard alot of music from Noriega over the years, and this sure souded like some of his strongest playing -- ever! The short set ended with a powerful performance of Chick Corea's Chick's Tune, a great head on the changes to You Stepped Out of a Dream and recorded by the great Blue Mitchell (and the composer) on the Blue Note album, The Thing to Do. Strong playing across the board on this one, and finally a solo from bassist Geoff Cooke! This quick and dirty set really got my blood flowing -- with another stop to make that night and two more bands to hear, I was certainly off on the right foot. Kudos to Jim Sisko, and if you get a chance to hear this fine quintet, in the words of Maury Finkle -- "Do it, do it... do it!"