LENNY MARCUS [p], has been putting out records since the 1980s. His music is easily accessible but never pandering to commercialism. His latest, MOVING FOURTH [LJM-024] offers up 13 tracks [57:13] of which 10 are originals. The standards are “The In Crowd” (he does more with this than Ramsey Lewis), “Solar” and “What A Wonderful World”. Marcus shows a full range on the keys with nods to McCoy Tyner, Beethoven and Ramsey Lewis. It is ironic that on the hype sheet accompanying the CD is a quote credited to this fine magazine, Cadence, that says “Marcus resembles Keith Jarrett”—of which I hear no resemblance. This is really Marcus’ date. He is joined by his trio [Larry Scott-drm, Rick Eckberg-b] and friends [Vladimir Espinosa-perc, Ken Hitchcock-sax, Chris Magee-tpt/fly, Tom Artwick-sax/flt] all of whom make fine contributions but the writing and arranging is subservient to the piano. Marcus has written some fine originals here and he is the one who shines in totality. It’s about music.
Jazz Society of Oregon
Tonk – A Tribute To Ray Bryant, Vol. 2; Lenny Marcus, piano, flute, vocals.?Ray Bryant had a certain open, bluesy sound with chords seemingly from heaven. It turns out that Bryant, who passed away in 2011, was Lenny Marcus’s teacher and mentor and a best friend of Marcus Sr. So it’s entirely sensible that Marcus should follow his earlier RB tribute with Volume 2. His basic trio of Rick Eckberg, bass, and Larry Scott, drums, is augmented here and there with additional instrumentation. And Marcus keeps these proceedings squarely in Bryant’s corner with a very bluesy orientation and a swinging menu from the first notes. How could he do otherwise on a tribute to this great Philly giant? There are 16 tunes in all, ranging from evergreens such as “C Jam Blues,” “Old Devil Moon,” and “St. Louis Blues,” to Bryant blues specials such as “Slow Freight,” “Up Above the Rock,” “Break Tune in G,” and two of Ray’s best, “Blues #2 and #3.” These — and all the others on this disc — remind us of the individuality, the fresh and invigorating vitality, and the reliably joyful sound that was, plain and simply, in the DNA of Ray Bryant.?Self-Produced; 2013; appx. 58 minutes.
Check it out here.
Folks, it just doesn’t get much mo’ down & phonk-y than this… you’ll be hooked (as was I) from the opening bar of “Seven Ate Nine” right to the last note of “Ode To The Night“… 16 tracks that will have you in jazz heaven (somethin’ to do with dreams, maybe?) perpetually! Lenny’s keyboards are joined by a whole host of “on” players, & the recording is superbly done. The sax work (Tom Artwick) on the opening to “Five Little Stars” serves as a perfect opening for each of the other players to show their jazz skills… simple, yet beautiful jazz that you won’t soon forget. My personal favorite tune was “Happy Blues For Two“… this is an all-round jazz journey that gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97. Get more information at Lenny’s site.