Ellis Marsalis

Whistle Stop

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For this CD, veteran pianist Ellis Marsalis performs songs composed by some of the top modern New Orleans players of the 1960s, including drummer James Black, tenor saxophonist Nat Perrilliat, clarinetist Alvin Batiste, saxophonist Harold Battiste, and himself. With the exception of Alvin Batiste's tunes (based on "Cherokee" and a Dixieland-ish blues), the originals have strong melodies, slightly tricky chord structures, and sound quite fresh. Marsalis utilizes his son, Branford, on tenor and soprano; bassist Robert Hurst; and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts; the young Jason Marsalis sits in on drums during two numbers. Ellis Marsalis is in particularly inventive form on this unusually obscure material.

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