Make America Great Again!
Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown jazz Orchestra
Review by Jamie Evans (“Just give ‘Jamie Evans’ a credit and add ‘rabid anti-marxist, High Tory, Master of the Wandsworth Hunt and Corbyn-hater’. Joking of course :-)”)
Any newcomer to the world of jazz wouldn’t get far without hearing the name “Marsalis”. That New Orleans dynasty has produced several extraordinarily talented jazz musicians, Wynton probably being the best known
His brother, trombonist and composer Delfeayo is not so widely recognised but certainly deserves to be, judging by the depth of talent exhibited on this newly released album.
Wynton is noted for his dogged respect for jazz tradition and refusal to accept novelty and change for the sake of it. This reviewer totally agrees
So it is a pleasure to see that Delfeayo and the Crescent City-based Uptown Jazz Orchestra have produced a glittering range of styles that embrace a wide diversity (My apologies for not listing all the contributors here as there are so many of them. Buy the CD to find out!).
The title track Make America Great Again! is a tongue in cheek political polemic with a voice-over narrative while Star Spangled Banner offers a comparatively faithful rendition of a patriotic composition.
Reverential nods are given to the great big bands of the past. Second Line inclines towards the Duke with Strayhorn echoes and lovely Hamiltonesque clarinet weaving above the choruses while Symphony in Riffs remembers the halcyon days of Benny Carter.
A homage to Count Basie, All of Me, takes different approach. Sparse piano from Kyle Rousssel, more funky that the the Count ever envisaged, leads us in and, as we suspect, towards the end of the second chorus – Bang , in comes the orchestra.
Delfeayo’s trombone is featured in Skylark and surely Hoagy Carmichael would have approved of the subtle, mellifluous treatment it is given?
The superb 20-piece UJO has had a regular weekday workout in a famous New Orleans venue for six years. “We play feel-good music. Don’t come…if you feel like being depressed,” says Delfeayo. If ever I get to the Crescent City, count me in.
A superb CD which embraces some of America’s great musical forms.
Tracks: Star Spangled Banner; Snowball; Second Line; Back to Africa; Make America Great Again; Dream on Robben; Symphony in Riffs; Put Your Right Foot Forward; All of Me; living Free and Running Wild; Skylark; Java; Fanfare for the Common Man; Dream On Robben (instrumental