It’s a rare combination that has made trombonist Marshall Gilkes an in-demand performer, composer and sideman since his arrival in New York City in the late 1990s. He has been a regular member of Maria Schneider’s Grammy Award-winning orchestra. Schneider describes him as, “one of those musicians who continually just drops my jaw and leaves me shaking my head in disbelief.” He spent four years as a full time member of the Grammy Award-winning WDR Big Band of Koln, Germany, an association that lasted until the end of 2013. At the request of the band’s producer, he returned in early 2014 for a farewell concert of the material heard on his brand new CD, “Koln,” titling the disc after the city where he lived during his tenure with the WDR.
Musicians can take on the role of anthropologists, curious about what came before in music and how musicians reflected the world around them. Award-winning vocalist and songwriter Roberta Donnay is that rare species of musician who almost lives in another time, as she and her Prohibition Mob Band exist to revive the Jazz Age of America. Their new release, “Bathtub Gin,” mines 1920s gems but also takes the listener on a stroll into the 1930s. Donnay also includes four party-rousing shout-chorus originals that evoke and revive the open spirit that birthed jazz.
Also this week, trumpeter Randy Brecker is captured in a live performance with the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago on “Dearborn Station”; pianist Jacky Terrasson is fueled by loops, Afro beats, wah-wah Fender Rhodes voicings and hip-hop flavors on “Take This”; and bassist Omer Avital mines his Middle Eastern Jewish heritage for his new disc, “New Song.”