Sunday, October 24, 2010

Joe Marsala and Carmen Mastren

Here's clarinetist Joe Marsala with a great lineup, including alto saxophonist Pete Brown and trumpeter Bill Coleman. All three horn players have gorgeous sounds. I've been listening to plenty of Joe Marsala lately, and he consistently surprises with his delicacy and ideas.

The rhythm section sounds cohesive too, headed by unsung hero Carmen Mastren on guitar. I find it interesting that a big band guitarist from Tommy Dorsey's unashamedly commercial orchestra could provide the heartbeat of classic small groups like this one and the Bechet/Spanier Big Four. Imagine finishing a gig as a virtually unheard and unseen acoustic guitarist - a tiny cog in a big machine - and going straight to a thrilling small-group jam session, spurring on the likes of Sidney Bechet!

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