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Jumbo love shows: Delfeayo Marsalis, Norman Brown

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Delfeayo Marsalis will perform at the Jazz Kitchen this evening - SUBMITTED PHOTO
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  • Delfeayo Marsalis will perform at the Jazz Kitchen this evening

Attention please, trombonists and lovers of jazz trombone: Don't miss this rare opportunity to see Delfeayo Marsalis, one of the few remaining trombonist and band leaders, perform with his fiery quintet at the Jazz Kitchen tonight.

Delfeayo (pronounced DEL-fee-oh), born in 1965, is the third son of the Ellis Marsalis dynasty (after brothers Branford and Wynton, born 1960 and 1961 respectively, and before drummer Jason, born 1977). After first experimenting with bass and drums, at age 13 he chose the trombone, feeling it was an extension of his personality.

"The trombone is the member of the band that actually keeps things together," he said in a recent interview for Art Works.

The trombonist benefited greatly from apprenticeships with several jazz greats, including Art Blakey, Slide Hampton, Max Roach and Elvin Jones.

"Blakey taught me patience, and how to construct a solo," he said.

Hampton taught him to take his instrument seriously.

"Slide was a master. His diligence made you always want to go practice."

Roach emphasized that playing good, accessible jazz is a balancing act.

He said Jones taught him about humanity, about expressing himself through the trombone and keeping time.

Marsalis has recorded four albums as a leader, including the mainstream and very swinging Minions Dominion (2006). The stellar lineup includes drummer Jones in one of his final performances, Mulgrew Miller on piano,\ and Bob Hurst III, bass. The playing is consistently superb, and Marsalis, preferring the low- to mid-range of the instrument, sounds smooth and velvety. His playing is inventive and precise, yet containing a subtle levity.

In 2011 Marsalis released the non-mainstream, a bold reinterpretation of Such Sweet Thunder (1957), the Ellington/Strayhorn classic suite of musical renderings of Shakespeare's most notable characters.

Marsalis's arrangements, for octet, range from the strident, dirge-like title track, to the reckless and carefree "Sonnet to Hank Cinq" (a.k.a. Henry V), and from the lyrical, poignant "Star Crossed Lovers," to the bouncing, rather society "Lady Mac." Throughout, the horn voicings are lush, the feels and tempos widely varied and the soloing deft.

Tonight's quintet will likely perform selections from both albums and will feature, besides Marsalis, Mark Gross on sax, David Pulphus on bass, Fred Sanders on piano and Winard Harper on drums.

Grammy award-winning R&B and smooth jazz guitarist Norman Brown will appear at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre Saturday, June 30, as part of the Jumbo Love Show 1st Anniversary Concert Celebration.

Known for his easy, catchy grooves, "hook-ridden" melodies, and solid, at times inspired guitar playing, Brown has been compared with George Benson and Eric Gale who, along with Wes Montgomery, Brown considers his primary guitar heroes. Having such a strong command of his instrument prompted one critic to label Brown's music "smooth jazz with teeth."

Brown, born in Shreveport, La., and raised in Kansas City, began playing guitar at age 8, inspired by the music of rock legend Jimi Hendrix. His first album, Just Between Us, on Motown Records' jazz label, was released in 1992. Twenty years later Brown has nine quality albums under his belt, the latest of which is 24/7, on Concord, a team effort with saxophonist Gerald Albright, released just last week.

Besides his 2003 Best Pop Instrumental Album Grammy, for Just Chillin', Brown's "Let's Take A Ride," from Stay With Me, was a No. 1 smooth jazz hit in 2007.

Brown seems to be a big-hearted down-home soul who laces everything he does with positive energy. His eighth album, Sending My Love, "is about pure love," he said on his website, "in all its many aspects: a personal relationship and a general love for the planet and for people."

I have a feeling that love powers everything Brown creates, which makes him an especially endearing entertainer.

The evening will also include performances by saxophonist Euge Groove, vocalist Phil Perry, and guitarist Peter White.

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