Performing at Tula’s on Friday and Saturday nights last weekend was a new group Human Spirit, playing some wonderful music, as they helped open the first night od Seattle’s anual Earshot Jazz Festival. With 14 albums as leaders, longtime collaborators Thomas Marriott (trumpet), Mark Taylor (sax), and Matt Jorgensen (drums) have been a “three-headed monster” defining the “New West Coast Jazz” of Seattle’s Origin Records. With them are two East Coast stars, pianist Orrin Evans, and bassist Essiet Essiet. Both nights will be recorded for an up-coming release on Origin Records. See the rest of the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule

A seven-time Earshot Jazz Gold Ear Award winner with collaborations with Brian Lynch and Charlie Hunter to his credit, trumpeter Thomas Marriott stands out among today’s cream of the crop. With 14 albums as leaders, longtime collaborators Marriott, Mark Taylor (sax) and Matt Jorgensen (drums) have been a “three-headed monster” defining the “New West Coast Jazz” of Seattle’s Origin Records. With them are two East Coast stars, pianist Orrin Evans, and bassist Essiet Essiet. Both nights will be recorded for an up-coming release on Origin Records.

Marriott adeptly and frequently takes the classic instrumentation of trumpet, saxophone and rhythm section to a new level with his unique blend of energy, beauty and intrigue. His sets often feature explorations of music by well-known composers like Duke Ellington and Miles Davis; each set is equally memorable for his compelling originals. It is this ability to cover a diversity of styles and genres while still maintaining originality that has become Marriott’s calling card.

Marriott received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Washington; then, after winning the prestigious Carmine Caruso Jazz Trumpet Competition Award, he moved to New York City and immediately began to play with there. During this time on the East Coast, he completed three world tours with Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau Band. He then worked with other artists such as Chico O’Farrell, Les Brown, Joe Locke, Ritchie Cole and Eric Reed. Since returning to Seattle, he has become a driving force in the city’s thriving jazz scene.

Reviewing the studio recording of Human Spirit (Origin), released earlier this year, in All About Jazz, C. Michael Bailey wrote: “Marriott’s trumpet sound is as solid as it is round. Even at high velocity, Marriott holds his notes together, a squeak or squawk being rare or non-existent. But Marriott is not the only principal here: alto saxophonist Mark Taylor, an Origin Arts mainstay, provides saxophone wares that are all over the map, from straight bop to beyond, wailing plaintively on ‘Hiding in Public,’ while hitting a simmer on the minor-key blues ‘Yakima.’ Gary Versace … provides the roux that holds this rich assembly together. Human Spirit works in all quarters, hitting on all cylinders while delivering a bang-up good jazz time.”

See the rest of the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule

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