Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet
In a World of Mallets
Basin Street Records The title of this album may seem strange without knowing that Jason Marsalis plays percussion instruments like vibraphone, xylophone, and glockenspiel, referred to as "vibes" on the cover, which also features percussion instrument mallets colorfully aligned in an artistic sunburst pattern. Upon opening the extensive case, Marsalis and his bandmates stroll happily down a sunny New Orleans street, dressed in their fi nest. It was odd to me at fi rst to read one of the dedications by Marsalis to the jazz scene of New York City. But he brings it back home as he says, "It is a scene that has showed how music tradition, especially from New Orleans, should not be taken for granted." The album begins with a more experimental track called "Discipline Discovers a World of Mallets" that could be a fi lm or ballet score. The multiple percussive instruments play an anticipatory piece as if a character is nervous about an unfolding event. The next songs are the expected cool, jazzy tunes. The light and expertly-played percussion instruments that are the album's focus along with the happy piano, intricate, but quiet drums, and scaling bass make for a refreshing listen. Even the song titles are unique, such as "Blues for the 29%ers" and "The Nice Mailman's Happy Song to Ann," and each song is a great, happy piece with excellent playing by each musician, especially as they take turns soloing. The album ends with the song "Discipline Gets Lost in a World of Mallets," and I think that after his journey, Discipline just wanted to stay there. This album will lighten and brighten your mood.