Eddie Marshall and Holy Mischief: Eddie Marshall and Holy Mischief

If Artie Shaw thought Davie Tough was a musical drummer, he should listen to Eddie Marshall. The San Francisco percussionist not only composed all but one of the songs on this, his third album as leader, but he plays a mean alto recorder as well. Frequent accompanist to Toshiko Akiyoshi, Stan Getz, Bobby McFerrin and Bobby Hutcherson, among many others in a 40-year career, Marshall produced Holy Mischief to celebrate his 60th birthday-though nothing on this disc sounds like the work of a man approaching retirement age. Instead, beginning with the first cut and title tune, Marshall insistently pushes his sidemen (saxophonist Kenny Brooks, pianist Paul Nagel and bass player Jeff Chambers) with the energy of a man half his age. All the more remarkable considering that he had bypass surgery in 1984! Where many drummers might use the opportunity of sitting in the producer’s chair for a solo workout, Marshall is clearly more interested in harmony, melody and songcraft. “Luna Nueva” and “Monsieur de Charles” are simply lovely tunes, the latter highlighting Marshall’s recorder. But Marshall’s smooth chops are also on display. In particular, his rolls are like butter, and he can churn at a very brisk pace, as evidenced by “Wildwood,” which includes Jeff Cressman on trombone. Though Marshall may be getting a late start, it’s time for this sideman to step out in front.