Urban Folklore

Thomas Marriott and the Orrin Evans trio at the Royal Room.

Thomas Marriott and the Orrin Evans trio at the Royal Room.

Seattle-based trumpet player Thomas Marriott introduced a new suite of music at The Royal Room that is just mind-blowing. He was accompanied at the unveiling by Orrin Evans on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Donald Edwards on drums. The quartet recorded Marriott’s tunes the next day for a CD, “Urban Folklore,” to be released on Origin Records.

The Royal Room, in Columbia City, which is nearby for me, was as packed as I’ve ever seen it. I’d also never seen a band earn a standing ovation and cries for an encore, in a venue like the Royal Room.

Needless to say, Marriott and company really turned it out.
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Multimedia Jazz and Thomas Marriott

As my multimedia ideas and capabilities have evolved, it has been nice to intersect them with the evolution of jazz trumpeter Thomas Marriott, one of my favorite musicians and friend. Marriott on Sunday headlined a concert for the Earshot Jazz Festival, considered by Downbeat to be “Seattle’s most important annual jazz event.” The concert, at Tula’s in Seattle, highlighted Marriott’s own works, which are formidable, and Marriott had a great supporting cast, which included local sax player Mark Taylor and pianist Travis Shook, an electric performer who was in from New York City for the show.

I’m a big fan of jazz and a big fan of trumpet players, dating back to Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan and Miles Davis and stretching to Wynton Marsalis, whom I started following when he was just a young lion in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Marriott is moving into the realm of the former because he’s more of an artist than musician, with inventive and emotive approaches to his tunes. I never get tired of his music.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is my third post about Marriott, and each has discussed a shooting (still and video) environment with its own unique challenges. The first shoot took place at Ama Ama, a restaurant and bar with no stage and little ambient lighting; the second shoot was at The Triple Door, with its big stage and good stage lighting. Tula’s, which has been the local showcase for jazz, is more typical of jazz clubs you’ll find in other parts of the country, with a small stage engulfed by tables and a bar, with stage lighting that is a bit more localized.
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Multimedia Little Frances

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more about "Little Frances on Vimeo", posted with vodpod

I was present during the birth of my two daughters, Sassia and Mika, and, believe me, there’s nothing like it. I also was at the figurative birth of Thomas Marriott’s latest creation, the “Flexicon” CD. And that, too, was awesome.

In my opinion, the highlight of the performance, as well as the CD, is Marriott’s tune, “Little Frances,” about his daughter. To some, it is a melancholy song, so much that Marriott says people sometimes ask if anything is wrong with Frances (a resounding, “No!”). I hear a father’s emotional homage to his daughter, and the flugelhorn Marriott used during the CD release party gave it a light and playful touch (check out the clip):

This clip, by the way, was exactly what Florangela Davila and I needed for our video project on Marriott and the KPLU School of Jazz. I open with his fingers on the valves, in front of the mic, and pan to a full shot of Marriott and his horn, to first surprise, then answer (just as one of my mentors, Travis Fox, once instructed).

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