The Marsalis name has always been synonymous with Jazz music and some good ole’ Nawlings sound. Those Marsalis boys -- Wynton, Branford, Jason and Delfeayo have followed in the footsteps of patriarch Ellis for a sound that is uniquely theirs.
Delfeayo plays the trombone. It's an instrument he admits he has had a love affair with for years.
"It suits my personality. It’s mellow and suits me fine and I feel as if I’m connected to it in some way.
"It’s great to be a trombone," Marsalis said of his beloved instrument. "You must understand the function of it. In a traditional New Orleans band, you have the trumpet, which is always taking the lead, but the trombone makes everybody else sound good."
And how sweet is the sound that the trombone makes when Delfeayo’s sends his breath of magic soaring through on his latest solo work Minions Dominion.
According to Marsalis, this CD differs from his first compilation Pontius Pilate Decision that he described as being both "programmatic and dramatic." Says Marsalis, "Pontius Pilate Decision was a combination of the stories from the Bible with moral statements. It was special because it captured the sound of that early jazz era complete with spirituals."
Minions Dominion is musically intelligent with some of the best jazz standards and ballads you’ll ever hear. No doubt traditional jazz music is at the core of this CD, and fluttering around it are nice swing beats that would make you feel like snapping your fingers and tapping your feet.
The CD was produced by both Delfeayo and Branford Marsalis and the name "Minions Dominion" somewhat pays tribute to the late jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. "Monk was great at creating quirky and odd titles like "Trinkle Tinkle" and "Ugly Beauty," says Marsalis. "Minions Dominion was named in the spirit of the Monkian tradition."
The list of the musicians on this CD is an impressive one. There is Donald Harrison on alto sax, Brandford Marsalis on tenor sax, Mulgrew Miller on piano and, of course, the late Elvin Jones in one of his final performance on drums.
The CD’s welcome mat is the scintillating "Brer Rabbit" and then the CD gears down to accommodate the softer side of jazz in the form of the genial glow, which emanates from "Lone Warrior" and the elegant "If You Only Knew," Marsalis’ favorite track on the CD. "Minions Dominion," the title track, is alive and bouncy and it captures a perfect Polaroid of a street jazz parade in New Orleans. Elsewhere on the CD, you’ll find the cute "Just Squeeze Me" and "Weaver of Dreams." The CD closes with "Lost in the Crescent," a track that employs Arabic undertones with the wailing sounds of the trombone and saxophone to connote the message of slavery and freedom.
According to the liner notes, "Lost in the Crescent" is the works of three songs blend into one. Branford Marsalis’ "Beautyful Ones" and R&B classics like "Ain’t No Sunshine" and "Love Don’t Live Here Anymore" were all the elements used to create the musical tapestry on this track.
Delfeayo has a hectic tour schedule planned for later this year and well into next year. New York, Detroit and Europe in the Summer of 2007 are just some of the places he would perform. He and younger brother Jason plan a tribute for the late drummer Elvin Jones in January.