THIS IS ONE OF THE LAST REMAINING PHYSICAL COPIES!!!!
Available digitally/mp3, etc. for a low, low price!
Buy it that way and save!
- - -
***The new Grand Marquis CD "Hold On To Me" has just been released!!!***
- - -
Also check out our other releases
- - -
Featuring some of the band's hottest material to date, this formidable collection of originals and covers takes listeners on an inspired musical journey. Starting in the jumpin' nightclubs of old Kaycee, the Grand Marquis make a quick jaunt overseas to visit the ghost of Django before wrapping it all up in the streets of New Orleans. This self-titled CD from 2004 is the third installment from the Grand Marquis, and the quintet exhibits no signs of slowing down. The delicate and sublime "Souvenirs," featuring newest member Sammy Nicolier, is not to be missed.
- - -
Cool jump blues and hot swinging jazz––that’s one way to describe the sound of Grand Marquis, a band comprised of four gents and a lady. Or try this descriptive dilly by Kelly McEniry, UMKC Marr Sound Archives:
The Grand Marquis are guardians of a musical portal, weaving catchy originals with classy covers. Music meteorologists, if you will, concocting their own brand of weathered styles. It’s old-school jump blues, rockabilly and fiery jazz balled up into one big hit of red hot Rhythm ‘n’ Roll.
Indeed, this band harks back to the lively days of Kansas City’s historic jazz scene where downtown clubs pulled in patrons and musicians from city streets, country roads, and railroad lines for a potent party. Far from being an anachronism, Grand Marquis perform their particular dialect in the language of jazz and blues and keep it alive for today’s generation. See, the English language is spoken word performance art practiced by billions of people the world over in different accents with fresh combinations, invented words, and linguistic mashups taking place quicker than you can say Satchmo. Now jazz and blues operate in much the same way. Fluency depends on musicians talking in any number of dialects, building on traditional sounds, inventing voices and phrases afresh to communicate timeless tales and emotions, and simply reminding audiences that music, like language, is an endless conversation that needs to be expressed, aurally and orally.
Some jazz musicians and vocalists perform classics that could be considered the equivalent of cocktail party chatter––lightweight, familiar, perfunctory for the occasion. Now, get a load of Grand Marquis, a quintet comprised of Bryan Redmond leading on saxophones and vocals, Chad Boydston wailing on trumpet and cornet, Sammy Nicolier adding flourish on guitar, Ben Ruth womping the upright bass, and Lisa McKenzie killing on the drums. They are the party, especially on the thirteen tracks that fill the self-titled CD originally recorded in 2004, remastered in June 2006, and released as the band’s third album.
Redmond shows his songwriting chops with the woozy, boozy “Paseo Street Strut.” The tune evokes memories of Cab Calloway and sets the tone for a lively listen. The next track, “I’se a Muggin (78 Side A),” dusts off the sound of yesteryear with the sound of a scratchy record laid over the swinging scat of Redmond. A few tracks later, the lazy Sunday feel of “If You’se a Viper (78 Side B)” bookends the treatment. “18th Sunday in Ordinary Time” jumps and jitters with a save your soul desperation. Whiskey, women, and religion’ll do that. Nicolier’s guitar shines on the Django Reinhardt tune, “Souvenir,” sounding like a carefree stroll on a spring afternoon. “Cointreau’s Raid” speeds up the pace with a rip-roaring tale, frenetic horns, hustling guitar, and McKenzie’s superb percussion and drum work holding the entire affair down. On the traditional song, “Keep Your Hand on the Plow,” Ben Ruth claws at the upright bass and kicks the rhythm section into gear while horns plead to smoky ceilings. “I went down to the river to pray,” intones Redmond as earthly matters look dire.
“St. Louis Blues” kicks off with sweet, sassy horns and a snappy drum line. Written by W.C. Handy in the blues style, the song is played by Grand Marquis with a Dixieland jazz feel and singer Redmond works in the lyrics about a St. Louis woman distraught over love. “Kiss of Fire” is also a showcase for the fine horns that distinguish this group. Nicolier’s guitar electrifies the rhythm as melodious saxophone and trumpet saunter through Duke Ellington’s “Black and Tan Fantasy.” The music slides across the ears in a polished fashion, however, it is worth noting at a live show how Boydston and Redmond play their instruments with excellent breath control and refined technique that require years of practice. The album closes with a jaunty adaptation of Wynton Marsalis’ tune, “Juba and a O’Brown Squaw.”
Jumping to the midpoint in the track list, “Lester Leaps In” is the electrified jazz-swing-rockabilly equivalent of a car chase, as notes and beats whir past at dizzying speed. Give the folks in Grand Marquis credit. This isn’t outdated, watered down jazz or predictable blues that will someday become the backing track for a luxury car commercial. Their arrangement of the song epitomizes the crux of jazz in Kansas City today. How to acknowledge the tradition of jazz, keep the spirit of innovation alive, and perform for paying audiences that respect both? All five players, who have worked and studied and practiced our American music forms with a touch of Kansas City style, demonstrate with this song that classics do not stand still. Traditions are a starting point. The Grand Marquis can jump, swing, and start the party as well as anyone around town.