Delfeayo Marsalis Uptown Jazz Orchestra: Uptown On Mardi Gras Day

The Marsalis trombone scion keeps both the roots and the party side of jazz alive by playing traditional tunes in a boisterous manner

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The 18-piece orchestra heard here is designed, according to Delfeayo Marsalis, to stimulate interest in jazz and its authentic New Orleans beginnings. Thirty musicians and singers are listed, and they are distributed throughout. The main soloists are Delfeayo on trombone, brother Branford on tenor and soprano saxes, Roderick Paulin on tenor and Marvin “Smitty” Smith at the drums.

These Mardi Gras performances are all full of boisterous singing and blowing in the more modern New Orleans idiom. There is certainly an air of carnival about all of these extravagant performances and almost all feature a vocalist. The titles tell their own story but particularly Carnival Time, Street Parade and Mardi Gras Mambo.

Uptown Boogie has one of the best Delfeayo trombone solos and brother Branford blows up a storm on this track, as he does on Big Chief.

Midnight At The Zulu Ball is the most restrained and mysterious piece. There’s plenty of percussion and laid-back horns on offer and even the rock-style drumming is restrained. Like the rest of the programme, it’s a smooth-swinging exercise and designed for dancing and merriment. Delfeayo’s trombone is very New Orleans flavoured here.

Last but not least is the second version of Mardi Gras Mambo billed, it says, for the Jass Cats. This is more straight-ahead stuff with Delfeayo, Branford and Marvin Smith bopping it up merrily. It’s carnival time – get your dancing shoes on.

Discography
Carnival Time; Uptown On Mardi Gras Day; Big Chief; Uptown Boogie; New Suit; All On A Mardi Gras Day; Midnight At The Zulu Ball; Street Parade; Mardi Gras Mambo; So New Orleans; They All Ask’d For You; Mardi Gras Mambo (49.04)
Delfeayo Marsalis (tb); Branford Marsalis (ts, ss); Roderick Paulin (ts); Marvin “Smitty” Smith (d) among 30 musicians & vocalists. No location listed, 14 & 15 October & 10 November 2022.
Troubadour Jass Records 02062023