Publication: Marsalis Music
Having established a commitment to documenting the music of emerging jazz artists, Marsalis Music directed its focus to older, if often under-appreciated giants with a new Honors Series of recordings.
“We want to put the spotlight on musicians who have contributed so much, yet often get taken for granted,” Marsalis explained, “and we also wanted to create a situation in which the artist records the music of his or her choice. Artists have their own conception, and should not need a producer’s input. I recognize that my job as a producer is different from that of a performing musician. My job is to make sure that everyone is on the same page, that all of the technical details are attended to, and that the music sounds as good as it can sound. We try to do the best job possible to make the music sound good, and I was happy to find such a high level of trust among the artists when we recorded our first two Honors sessions.”
For producer Marsalis, one important feature of the Honors Series is the opportunity to provide both exposure and a learning experience for young talents. “I want to make sure that some younger players are included on all of the Honors sessions, so that the veterans can pass down their wisdom and experiences while getting a new view of things at the same time. It’s a good opportunity for everybody.”
In the spirit of paying tribute to under recognized masters, cover photography for the series is provided by noted photographer Lou Jones.
The first two titles in the Honors Series featured drummers Michael Carvin and Jimmy Cobb and were released in 2006. A second pair followed earlier this year and shifted the focus to giants of New Orleans music, featuring the late clarinet master Alvin Batiste in his last recording and drummer Bob French.