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The Marsalis Family: The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration

Ellis Marsalis-pianist, jazz educator, sire of champions-and his wife, Dolores, neglected to produce a bass player, so homeboy Roland Guerin joined the family for the cheerful New Orleans concert captured on A Jazz Celebration. All hands shine on sextet performances of Ellis’ “Swingin’ at the Haven,” “Nostalgic Impressions” and “Twelve’s It,” the latter with Harry Connick Jr. sitting in to play a spiky piano solo. Connick and guest Lucien Barbarin team up on “St. James Infirmary,” in which Barbarin plays beguiling wah-wah trombone and Connick reverts to piano ploys with which he wowed Jackson Square tourists when he was a boy wonder. Connick’s vocal is laid back and nicely phrased, too.

For the rest, it’s all Marsalises-and Guerin. Ellis invests his trio version of “The Surrey With the Fringe on the Top” with relaxation and bebop wisdom. In case the audience forgot what town they were in, he works in a quote from “When We Danced at the Mardi Gras.” Youngest son Jason concentrates his solo in the drum set’s low notes, pleasing the crowd with a final roll around the toms. His brushwork is restrained and nicely timed on the other trio piece, a short, reflective version of Ellis’ ballad “After.” Delfeayo, boisterous and exceedingly tromboney, is featured to great effect on Tyree Glenn’s “Sultry Serenade,” aka “How Could You Do a Thing Like That to Me?” He delights in finding humorous alternate notes to use in “running out of key,” as the preboppers used to say.

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