New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Genius pianist Marcus Roberts will release 'Trio Crescent: Celebrating Coltrane' on November 17th on his J-Master Records label. 'Trio Crescent' is a deeply moving reimagining of John Coltrane's classic 1964 album 'Crescent.' It finds Roberts and his longtime trio - Rodney Jordan (bass) and Jason Marsalis (drums) - channeling their deep love and admiration for Coltrane, and specifically for his 'Crescent' work. 'Trio Crescent' is a track-by-track presentation of the original Coltrane album plus the trio's rendition of "Traneing In," an extended blues not on the original 'Crescent' recording.
In preparing for 'Trio Crescent,' Roberts spent considerable time working out how to represent Coltrane's legendary quartet using his trio's innovative style and approach. Combining the roles of tenor saxophone and piano from the original recording was a challenge. To do this, Roberts used the essential elements of each song, fusing Coltrane's melodies with his own vision of the harmonic conception and color provided by McCoy Tyner on the original recording. They expanded the traditional role of each trio instrument to augment Coltrane's soulful phrasing and intricate syncopated rhythms. Roberts calls this approach "group improvisational orchestration."
"John Coltrane's music has the sound of the past, present, and future in it. It has had an enormous influence on my work and on our trio's group sound," says Roberts. "The core of Coltrane's style is folk, but he mixes a sophisticated array of modern rhythmic concepts and thematic logic. Coltrane's music speaks to a lot of social issues that we as a nation are still struggling with today. For example, he wrote Alabama
after the horrific bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham in 1963. I grew up in church. My mother always told me that people need to feel something when you play - otherwise you are wasting time. Trane's music is filled with warmth and clarity. It acknowledges adversity while being filled with hope. Coltrane wanted his music to be a force for good and we feel the same way about our trio."
'Trio Crescent' is the first full-length record Roberts has released since 2014's double album 'Romance, Swing and the Blues,' but he's been busy since then. He debuted his second piano concerto commissioned by Seiji Ozawa in late 2016, was profiled on 60 Minutes, released an EP of songs inspired by four of the presidential candidates during the 2016 primaries ('Race for the White House'), and received an honorary doctor of music degree from Juilliard.
John Coltrane released 'Crescent' in 1964 on Impulse!, with his classic quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums.
Roberts will also be touring in 2018 with Tavis Smiley
as a part of a multimedia show honoring the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin
Luther King's death. Roberts will perform original compositions on the piano with Smiley
serving as narrator of a production that tells the little-known story of King's final year. Tour dates will be announced soon.
'Crescent' track list:
The Drum Thing