"We Always Swing"® Jazz Series presents
Marcus Roberts Trio
Photo Credit courtesy of artist
It’s been more than 10 years since virtuoso pianist Marcus Roberts made a Jazz Series appearance. We’re only too happy to end that drought. Roberts embodies piano history – having delivered separate recordings that delve into worlds of New Orleans, boogie-woogie, stride, bebop and beyond. He first gained notoriety in the mid-1980s as a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Quartet when the group crisscrossed the United States at a prodigious rate. Among the ensemble’s stops: the original site of the Blue Note on Business Loop 70 E.
While Roberts continues to maintain his now 25-year friendship and association with Marsalis, he really has come to be recognized for leading his trio, a group that he founded in 1995. It’s the format that Roberts feels most comfortable with and one that offers him the vehicle where he can express his musical ideas to the max. Stylistically, Roberts’ trio is one that incorporates a strong rhythmic approach but one that is also melodic and filled with dynamic contrast.
While Roberts has occasionally rotated bassists during the course of the trio’s lifetime, drummer Jason Marsalis, having started with the pianist when he was still a teenager, has been along for the entire ride. Not surprisingly the two communicate almost instinctually at this point. The trio’s third component is bassist Rodney Jordan; while he’s not a lifer like Marsalis, he has been with the pianist for more than seven years to date.
Although the piano is typically the focus of most jazz trios, Roberts, employing a system of musical cues, tends to run his operation more like a cooperative – an approach that allows each player to share equally in shaping the direction of the music through changes in tempo, mood, texture and even form. As a result, each trio member has abundant opportunity to showcase their respective individual talents housed, as often as not, in a rhythmic context. This leads to more than a few concert goers to feel as if there are a lot more than three people on the stage.
Jason Marsalis last appeared as a member of his father’s trio in February 2011; this is bassist Rodney Jordan’s first Jazz Series appearance.
Audio and Video
Marcus Roberts Trio