You, me, the music, and me.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Columbia FC 37972 (1982)

Here's an album with an intriguing concept; two sets of two generations of jazz musicians in which the second generation is more well known to the listening public than the first.

Fathers and Sons was recorded near the beginning of the "new traditionalist" movement in jazz in which the post-bop sound of the fifties and sixties was picked up by a new, young generation of players which included Wynton and Branford Marsalis. The two brothers achieved fame that grew throughout the eighties and nineties and extended itself to their father, pianist Ellis Marsalis, a respected musician with few fans outside his native New Orleans. Similarly, legendary Chicago tenor saxophonist Von Freeman was little known outside his native city until his son Chico became a member of the A.A.C.M. and began making recordings with such names as Jack DeJohnette and Cecil McBee.

The first side of the record sticks with the neo-traditional sound that brought attention to the Marsalis brothers in the first place, while side two finds the Freemans playing in the bluesy Chicago style associated with papa Von (with a little bit of free-time improv thrown in on "Time Marches On"). Highlights of the album include Ellis' adventurous piano-and-bass treatment of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" at the end of side one and Chico's oddly Marsalis-like "Tribute to Our Fathers", which closes side two. From listening to this album, it would appear that (musically, at least) there is no generation gap in either the Marsalis or the Freeman household.


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