|This new recording by Scott Marshall should please those listeners who prefer the sounds of early John Coltrane and the hard bop format of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
Saxophonist Marshall and his recording mates pianist Marcel Aucoin, bassist Wes Neal, and drummer Nick Fraser prove themselves to be sleek and melodic modern players as they articulate nine original tunes which include, among them, a slow ballad ("Peggy Burke"), a Gospel tune ("Hymn for Spring"), a 'Carib'-flavoured vamp ("South Exposure"), a Blues ("Cell Phone Blues"), and two modal tunes ("Speed Dark" and "Marcella on Red Sand").
Worth mentioning are "November Blues" and "Cool With Rain (January 31st, 2003)", where a distinctively low and bluesy 'octave' sound conjures up the soothing moods of George Shearing and Wes Montgomery. However, this use of 'octaves' is all-too-brief and spotty, and it soon evaporates into muted tonal effects.
If there's anything important to fault, or criticize, it's the solos which consistently fail to ignite. It seems that emotions are kept in check and nothing disturbing or provocative is allowed to happen.
What we hear are the satisfied sounds of staying close to home instead of venturing too far out.
reviewed by David Fujino March 2007