It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Marsalis issued his brilliant debut, Scenes in the City. The sax master doesn’t seem to age, as he just keeps on putting out one jazz gem after another. His current quartet has been together for more than 10 years, and it shows on Metamorphosen, a virtuoso affair of contemporary jazz rooted in classic influences.
“We try to do everything,” says Marsalis. “We run the gamut, and are prepared to play anything at any time.” Marsalis’s “Jabberwocky” features him on alto sax over a “treacherous” 19-bar form. A workout on Thelonious Monk’s “Rhythm-a-ning” is another swinging highlight, and bassist Eric Revis’s “Sphere” just begs for a gin and tonic. Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts contributes the bopping “Return of the Jitney Man,” while “The Blossom of Parting” and “The Last Goodbye” show the band stretching out elegantly on ballads by pianist Joey Calderazzo. Now if only the band toured more widely …
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