The Marketts

Surfin' and Stompin'

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The Marketts weren't a band in the standard sense, but a collection of veteran Los Angeles session players assembled by producer Joe Saraceno to capitalize on the emerging surf music scene of the early '60s. Loosely known as "the wrecking crew," and including, among others, guitarists Tommy Tedesco and Rene Hall, sax player Plas Johnson, bassist Jimmy Gordon, and drummers Earl Palmer and Ed Hall, the so-called Marketts really had more in common with 1940s jazz than they did Dick Dale, and this charming collection of shuffles, stomps, and trippy lounge jazz is really a genre all its own. The group's first single, 1962's "Surfer's Stomp" b/w "Balboa Blue," is indicative, featuring a lazy, sax-led shuffle on the A-side, reprising the same rhythm on "Balboa Blue," only with a different melody line (again led by Johnson's sax) that generates a leisurely, joyous, and infectious groove. This is wonderful stuff, and while this version of the Marketts (they were really more a brand than a group) was marketed as a surf outfit, their gentle merging of R&B and small combo swing is really something else again, a style that -- for lack of a better term -- might be called "surf jazz." This fine set includes the group's entire 1962 album Surfer's Stomp (also known as The Surfin' Scene) from Liberty Records, 1967's Sun Power album (in which every cut has the word "sun" in the title) from World Pacific, and a handful of singles from Arvee Records. That the group was largely a side project for most of the musicians involved is obvious here, since most of the rhythms are subtle variations on the "Surfer's Stomp" and "Balboa Blue" template, but that big, lazy, kicked-back groove works so well and the group itself is so unassuming that the same set of tricks goes over time and time again, with the end result being a wonderfully cohesive and completely satisfying set.

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