The Last Southern Gentlemen
Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis is the younger brother of trumpeter Wynton and son of New Orleans musical patriarch, the pianist Ellis Marsalis. He's teamed up on The Last Southern Gentlemen with his father on a marvelously rendered collection of tunes that, as he writes in his copious liner notes, pay “tribute to the humanity and humility at the center of the Southern lifestyle that birthed America's original music.” Accompanied by bassist John Clayton and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith, the foursome takes a mostly leisurely approach to the material. As Delfeayo writes, “our aim was to communicate a feeling of … relaxation and gentility.” “My Romance,” which opens with a very relaxed arco solo by Clayton, is an excellent example of the approach with yet another of Delfeayo's magnificent muted theme statements. The lively trio version of “If I Were a Bell,” on the other hand, spotlights Ellis' up-tempo playing and shows that, at 79 (when this was recorded), he is still a force to be reckoned with. “I Cover the Waterfront” is a relaxed duet with his son that again evokes the care and feeling that make this CD the delight that it is. On the uptempo “Speak Low,” Delfeayo gives his mellifluous trombone a healthy workout with his dad in hot pursuit.