Delfeayo Marsalis is bound and determined to do it his way. That is evident in a risk well worth taking with his new Jazz Theatre production, Sweet Thunder: Duke & Shak
. The cleverly named presentation honors Duke Ellington and William Shakespeare. Marsalis, known for wit and charm and chops features a sparkling ensemble including actor, Kenneth Brown, Jr. from the HBO series Treme.'
Musically speaking, a finely tuned octet, including Marsalis on trombone, Winard Harper
on drums, Lynn Grissett on trumpet, Shaena Ryan on baritone sax, Mark Gross on alto sax, Don Byron
on tenor sax, David Bryant on piano, and Dezron Douglas on bass give the music an engaging edge. Near term appearances are scheduled Feb. 12-Feb. 21. Cities include Columbus, OH, Toledo, OH, Charlotte, NC, Columbia, SC, Orlando, FL and Miami, FL.
The elevation and sustenance of jazz as a premium live art form is largely dependent on the torch bearers' innovation. The recent passage of giants such as Dr. Billy Taylor, James Moody and Freddie Hubbard, Abbey Lincoln and Hank Jones highlights the need to invest in rising talents willing to take risks. Place a bet here. You won't be disappointed.