Personnel: Thomas Marriott (trumpet, flugelhorn); Mark Taylor , Mark Taylor (saxophone); Bill Anschell (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Joe Locke (vibraphone); Jeff Johnson (bass instrument); Matt Jorgensen (drums, drum).
Liner Note Author: Joe Locke.
Recording information: Robert Lang Studios, Seattle, WA (03/20/2008-06/02/2008); Studio Litho, Seattle, WA (03/20/2008-06/02/2008).
Editor: Cameron Nicklaus.
Trumpeter Thomas Marriott spent time paying his dues in the New York scene, moving back to his native Northwest after a few years and becoming a darling of the local jazz scene. On Flexicon, he pulls out sounds and styles from both areas of influence. The album opens with Freddie Hubbard's "Take It to the Ozone," jumping directly into full-speed, full-power, high-energy, post-bop melodies and using the solos to explore every possible nuance of the song (in particular, N.Y. vibe player Joe Locke, along for the ride, makes an outstanding flight). In Wayne Shorter's "Masqualero," the sound goes decidedly more Northwestern -- a little more exploratory, a little more give and take between the musicians, a little more subdued energy. That subdued note is certainly gone by the time pianist Bill Anschell gets his shot at a solo in "Spring Is Here," but does come back in the cadence for Marriott's first original of the album, "Little Frances." The pace picks back up gradually from there, using "Brothers & Sisters" and "Circadian Rhythms" (both originals) as strong building points for energy, bookending a deeper urban sound with a long appearance from Joe Locke's vibes again in "You Only Live Twice." After the ups and downs of tempo and style, the group moves to a slower, contemplative take on Elvis Costello's "Almost Blue." Throughout, the band shows itself to be hugely versatile, hitting covers of jazz and pop equally well, standards and originals, fast and slow, spacious and dense. Marriott's horn is generally the star of the show, but it's really the interplay in his arrangements that makes the effort work. Each of the players in the session contribute hugely with their instruments, and when they work together well (as they almost always do here), an amazing sound emerges. ~ Adam Greenberg