Performing families are nothing new in the world of entertainment. Still, it is always a pleasure to witness the talent and commitment each member brings to a specific craft, whether in a combined performance or individually.
Jason Marsalis is one such talent. Many know the name. His father, Ellis, along with his older brothers Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo have been part of the jazz world for nearly 20 years.
Jason, an inimitable percussionist weaned, like his siblings, on the New Orleans jazz tradition, hammers straight-ahead tunes on the vibraphone Sunday at the Hamilton. He will be accompanied by Austin Johnson on piano, Will Goble on bass and Dave Potter at the drums.
"We'll do a mixture of original [music] and standards," said Marsalis, who for the last several years has studied classical percussion at Loyola University and has worked as a sideman in multiple settings that have included local, straight-ahead combos, funk fusion bands, a Brazilian percussion ensemble and a Celtic group. "And we're doing newer music from our upcoming release, 'In a World of Malice.' "
|Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet|
|Where: The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW|
|When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday|
|Info: $26.50; 202-787-1000; thehamiltondc.com|
In addition to tunes he and the group have written, Marsalis is likely to perform standards he says are not covered very often, such as "I'm Confessing That I Love You" and "I Cover the Waterfront."
"Those songs aren't necessarily a part of our generation, and so it makes them harder to play," he explained. "But they teach us much about the music, [which] makes us better musicians."
Marsalis sees his mission as one that will infuse diverse styles, moods and textures to the music to keep it vital and moving into the next century. He notes that, "If jazz is to keep moving forward, all of the musical styles in jazz history have to be advanced while including musical styles outside the jazz realm."
And while there are original tunes in this latest album, other more obscure pieces are included and some overdubbed work using all of the mallet instruments. The result has pleased Marsalis. And he hopes audiences will be equally moved.
"I want audiences to know that we take the music we play seriously and try to know as much music as we can to better inform them," he asserted. "We want to play great music that the people will walk away having enjoyed."