Named as “a candidate for record of the decade,” “a masterpiece,” and one of his “favorites of the last 5 years”, Jason Marsalis’ In A World of Mallets just reached #3 on the Jazzweek Radio chart and #4 on CMJ Radio chart. Following the release of his new vibraphone album last month on Basin Street Records, the youngest Marsalis family member set out for a series of performances in support of the album. Jason will be continuing his tour later this month, beginning with his album release party on March 23rd at New Orleans’ Little Gem Saloon, a beautiful newly renovated and historic jazz club. Check out Jason live in Washington DC for his performance at Kennedy Center Jazz Club on April 12th and in Philadelphia at Chris’ Jazz Café on April 13th. You can also catch his performance this April at the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Additionally, Jason recently recorded with and will be touring alongside Bela Fleck and Marcus Roberts. Today, Jason is sharing the videos for Jazz Chickens, as well as performance footage of “Blues Can Be Abstract, Too” at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse.
With each passing year Jason Marsalis continues to grow and develop as both a composer and performer. With a fire in his heart and a passion for the music, his will to swing has never been more resolute. The maturity of this young lion and the command he possesses over his instrument is clearly evident on In A World of Mallets. Marsalis steps behind marimba, glockenspiel, tubular bells, vibraphone, and xylophone with a healthy mix of original compositions, work by his up-and-coming band-members, and dedications to former jazz greats. With “Blues Can Be Abstract, Too” Marsalis questions those who believe blues must be primitive in nature; he explores all genres of music with “Ballet Class,” and demonstrates his true virtuosity with “Whistle for Willie.” Compositions by each of his quartet-members, “Ill Bill,” “Louisiana Gold,” and “Big Earl’s Last Ride,” round out the center of the album with creative variation. Bobby Hutcherson’s “My Joy” shows Marsalis’ respect for the progenitors of jazz-vibraphone. “The Nice Mailman’s Happy Song to Ann”traverses a wide variety of moods and feelings with varying iterations of a single theme.
From a tender young age it was clear that Jason Marsalis had what it took to be great. Jason is the son of pianist and music educator Ellis Marsalis and the youngest sibling of musiciansWynton, Branford and Delfeayo. Together, the four brothers and Ellis comprise New Orleans’ venerable first family of jazz; they are collectively recipients of the NEA Jazz Masters Award. Jason is well known for his prodigal drumming. Working with the Ellis Marsalis trio as well as the Marcus Roberts trio, he has fine-tuned his playing in two of the most demanding settings in modern jazz. Since 2000, Jason has been a mainstay on the New Orleans scene as a bandleader from the vibraphone chair. His current group, The Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet, is comprised of Austin Johnson on piano, Will Goble on Bass, andDave Potter on drums. His groups have These groups have performed at Snug Harbor, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, The Jazz Playhouse, and The Satchmo Summerfest. Jason has also appeared at many of the foremost jazz venues throughout the US and Canada, and has toured Europe on the summer festival scene. His playing is unique; drawing from a wide range of influences, Jason performs original music as well as many hidden gems from jazz literature and beyond.