Delfeayo Marsalis

(Troubadour Jass)

This record grabbed me from the downbeat of the opening track. Delfeayo, the trombone-playing member of the Marsalis family, kicks off “Tin Roof Blues” with a tone that makes you say, “Ah,” and is then joined by his father, Ellis Marsalis, on piano. It’s a slice of perfection to hear this father and son play a pure blues together, like they’ve been doing their whole lives. When the rhythm section kicks in—with Reginald Veal on bass and Ralph Peterson on drums—the fans at this concert in Kalamazoo, Michigan, know they’re in good hands. Kalamazoo is a good time: Nothing is rushed, nothing taken too seriously. There’s plenty of room for solos, and it’s a joy to hear each of the members of this band play. The program is drawn mainly from the jazz canon, with fantastic spins on “Autumn Leaves,” “My Funny Valentine,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing” and “If I Were A Bell.” Always the showman, Delfeayo delivers some truly funny moments. The band plays the theme to Sesame Street as a blues. And he invites two jazz students onstage to be barbecued with jokes, then perform with the band. It’s great stuff. The set concludes with Delfeayo and Ellis’ duo interpretation of “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans.” The album is dedicated to the memory of Dolores Ferdinand Marsalis (1937–2017). With this heartfelt rendition of the Crescent City classic, it’s clear that the musicians are processing their grief over the loss of the beloved mother of Delfeayo and wife of Ellis. It’s a beautiful ending to a concert I wish I could have attended.