Marcus Roberts

Deep In the Shed

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Pianist Marcus Roberts' second album as a leader is plagued by an excess of seriousness and an overly high if noble sense of purpose that made one wonder if writer Stanley Crouch was starting to influence Roberts. The music is often so dry and sober as to be lacking the joy of life. The six Roberts originals, although referred to by Crouch in the liner notes as blues, have the feeling rather than the 12-bar structure of the blues and are generally quite melancholy. Roberts utilizes several of Wynton Marsalis' sidemen including the trumpeter himself (under the pseudonym of E. Dankworth) and the expert wa-wa trombone of Wycliffe Gordon, who gives the date a much needed dose of humor. Marcus Roberts also plays quite well but one wishes he had lightened up a bit.

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