By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 12.10.09
Buy CD: Flexicon
Thomas Marriott plays trumpet and flugelhorn, and is based in the Seattle area. I reviewed an earlier release (Both Sides of the Fence) by this group a few years ago, and found it quite enjoyable.
Marriott once again uses his basic quartet — with pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Matt Jorgensen — and adds guest artists Mark Taylor (saxophones) and Joe Locke (vibes). Three of these nine tracks are Marriott originals; the rest are covers of tunes written by Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Rogers and Hart, John Barry and others.
Except for the opener — “Take It to the Ozone,” a real burner — all the tracks are mid-tempo. The musicians are first-class, and they sound as if they've been together for years.
This is a perfect example of what I call “thinking” jazz: The arrangements are excellent, and the ensemble and solo passages keep your attention focused. You can listen to this group again and again, and be rewarded anew each time. I'd love to hear them in person.