Scott Marshall – Solitude Suite (ENG review)

Street date March 22th 2024
Scott Marshall – Solitude Suite (ENG review)

Solitude Suite is a composition inspired during the Covid-19 period, undoubtedly fueled by the need for air, sunlight, and vast spaces, which today provides such a joyful recording. It marks the sixth album of original music by saxophonist and composer Scott Marshall. Written for a unique configuration without chords – and performed by Canadian jazz icons Kevin Turcotte, Mike Downes, Terry Clarke, and Marshall himself – the Solitude Suite once again proves that Marshall is one of Canada’s most insightful and creative jazz composers.
As we know, Canadian jazz musicians are often the most inspired, with one foot in Anglo-Saxon and Francophone cultures. Often, they incorporate a bit of both worlds into their art, whether it’s in music, literature, dance, or visual arts. So, it’s natural here to find particularly radiant and inspiring inspirations in terms of musical writing or composition, if you prefer. No unnecessary chatter; the saxophones tell the story, while the other instruments set the scene.
The first half of this suite was composed during the Covid-19 pandemic (a literal solitude). The second half was composed as the world emerged and grappled with the “new normal” (figurative solitude). In jazz music, chordal instruments typically cover the internal harmonies of the music. They handle the middle ground, holding the song together – they play the “buttered notes,” as Miles Davis put it.
The shadow of Miles, yes, from a sixties era in part, and especially in intentions, in the way the instruments are structured in the arrangements, far from be-bop, it’s more about feeling, but strangely this album brings me back to certain albums by Dexter Gordon, circa 1973 with his quartet. There’s something of that in it; this album walks in the footsteps of the greatest, with no pretensions, just out of love, necessity, and emotion, and there’s plenty of emotion in this album. This suite is both a reflection on these solitudes and a musical call for more beauty, hope, and optimism in the world.
Solitude, not only the one caused by Covid, I also see the solitude of the artist facing himself, during creation, or on stage, those magical moments between musicians where communication happens in silence most of the time through looks and, if necessary, through a gesture.
An album that, without seeking to be demonstrative, immediately knows how to make itself indispensable, simply through its sincerity…

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, March 10th 2024


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