Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet- In a World of Mallets


From the youngest member of the musical family named NEA Jazz Masters, the debut CD of Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet. Jason is recognized as a leader on Vibes by Downbeat Magazine’s critics and readers. Street date: 2/19/13.

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Press for In A World of Mallets

Hit #1 on the JazzWeek radio chart.

“This (In A World of Mallets) is a candidate for record of the decade. . . It’s a masterpiece” –Mark Shapiro, DMX/Mood Media

“It’s as if Jason Marsalis wants to joyfully introduce the vibraphone to all who would care to know the instrument better. . . In a World of Mallets is a highly listenable, happy album. So happy, that it has Marsalis literally whistling near the CD’s end. And he should be. He’s accomplished jazz for everyday and any day that needs the promise of enlightenment, intelligence and pleasure.” – Geraldine Wyckoff, Louisiana Weekly.

“Jason Marsalis defies expectations on In a World of Mallets, his new album with the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet. This master of rhythm from the First Family of Jazz has made Dave Brubeck-like strides with his use of time on the drum set. Now, with a vibraphone as his weapon, he makes Wayne Shorter-esque explorations in his compositions. . . He fancies himself a guard of the true essence of jazz, and he stands his ground in his new release. Marsalis exhibits technical mastery, but shows how it can be used to express unique melodic and rhythmic ideas. . . In a World of Mallets pierces with his inner voice, and there’s no denying that Marsalis has grown to be a wiser musician. This is a breakaway record for 21st-century jazz.” – Shamik Ganguly, Michigan Daily

“Primarily, Marsalis is an immensely talented player with lively improvisation skills and a band which is more than capable of leaping into these articulate, wry, and adventurous compositions.” – Matt Collar, AllMusic

“Marsalis is the mostly “unknown” part of one of jazz music’s first families, but is spot-on with his artistry on In A World Of Mallets.” – Chuck Schultz, All About Jazz

“Hard work is, after all, what the intense scion of New Orleans music royalty is all about” – Downbeat Magazine, 61st Annual Critics Poll, Jason Marsalis named “Rising Star on Vibes”

“In a World of Mallets layers in the unique sounds of the vibraphone, tubular bells, xylophone, and glockenspiel as the “lead” for a progressive blues and jazz sound. Do not let the instruments fool you; the sound is true and solid.” – Edward Nesta, Luxury Experience

Album Description

Fresh from touring with acclaimed banjoist Bela Fleck and pianist Marcus Roberts, Jason Marsalis returns to his role as band leader and vibraphonist extraordinaire with the release of his latest album, In A World of Mallets, on February 19 via Basin Street Records. His third release on the New Orleans-based label follows the drum-centric releases Year of the Drummer (1998) and Music in Motion (2000). Recorded in his home town of New Orleans and self-produced, In A World of Mallets is the first official release with his current band, the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet. For a sample of Jason’s new tunes, listen to “Blues Can Be Abstract, Too” (feel free to post and share).

Of Marsalis’ recent return to bandleader and vibraphonist the New York Times have said, “The youngest son of the Marsalis family, the drummer Jason Marsalis makes infrequent…self-produced records that are always worth hearing…Jazz often wants to be acceptably cool. Here there’s a sense of an excellent musician trying out something risky without embarrassment.”

With each passing year Jason Marsalis continues to grow and develop as both a composer and performer. With a fire in his heart and a passion for the music, his will to swing has never been more resolute. The maturity of this young lion and the command he possesses over his instrument is clearly evident on In A World of Mallets. Marsalis steps behind marimba, glockenspiel, tubular bells, vibraphone, and xylophone with a healthy mix of original compositions, work by his up-and-coming band-members, and dedications to former jazz greats. With “Blues Can Be Abstract, Too” Marsalis questions those who believe blues must be primitive in nature; he explores all genres of music with “Ballet Class,” and demonstrates his true virtuosity with “Whistle for Willie.” Compositions by each of his quartet-members, “Ill Bill,” “Louisiana Gold,” and “Big Earl’s Last Ride,” round out the center of the album with creative variation. Bobby Hutcherson’s “My Joy” shows Marsalis’ respect for the progenitors of jazz-vibraphone. “The Nice Mailman’s Happy Song to Ann” traverses a wide variety of moods and feelings with varying iterations of a single theme.

From a tender young age it was clear that Jason Marsalis had what it took to be great. Jason is the son of pianist and music educator Ellis Marsalis and the youngest sibling of musicians Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. Together, the four brothers and Ellis comprise New Orleans’ venerable first family of jazz; they are collectively recipients of the NEA Jazz Masters Award. Jason is well known for his prodigal drumming. Working with the Ellis Marsalis trio as well as the Marcus Roberts trio, he has fine tuned his playing in two of the most demanding settings in modern jazz. Since 2000, Jason has been a mainstay on the New Orleans scene as a bandleader from the vibraphone chair. His current group, The Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet, is comprised of Austin Johnson on piano, Will Goble on Bass, and Dave Potter on drums. His groups have These groups have performed at Snug Harbor, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, The Jazz Playhouse, and The Satchmo Summerfest. Jason has also appeared at many of the foremost jazz venues throughout the US and Canada, and has toured Europe on the summer festival scene. His playing is unique; drawing from a wide range of influences, Jason performs original music as well as many hidden gems from jazz literature and beyond.

Liner Notes

Track List

1. Discipline Discovers a World of Mallets (1:44)
2. Blues Can Be Abstract, Too (4:27)
3. Ballet Class (4:50)
4. Characters (5:09)
5. Blues for the 29%ers (5:21)
6. My Joy (2:07)
7. Ill Bill (3:35)
8. Louisiana Gold (3:38)
9. Big Earl’s Last Ride (4:47)
10. The Nice Mailman’s Happy Song to Ann (8:51)
11. Nenhum Talvez (1:36)
12. Closing Credits (6:44)
13. Whistle for Willie (4:10)
14. Discipline Gets Lost in a World of Mallets (2:02)

All tracks composed by Jason Marsalis and published by Lil’ Man Jake Publishing and Patti Rae Publishing (ASCAP) unless otherwise noted.


The Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet

Jason Marsalis – vibes, whistling (13)

Austin Johnson – piano

Will Goble – bass

Dave Potter – drums

The Discipline Ensemble – Tracks 1, 6, 11, 14

Jason Marsalis – marimba, glockenspiel, tubular bells, vibraphone, xylophone

Thank You

Thanks to my wife Kaya and daughters Marley, McKenzie, and Evangeline for their love and support.  Thanks goes out to my parents Ellis and Dolores Marsalis and brothers, Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, and Mboya.

“Blues Can Be Abstract, Too” is dedicated to all the musicians and music students who believe that blues is a primitive old form in which no modern music can be explored.  “Ballet Class” is dedicated to ALL genres of music.  “Whistle for Willie” was inspired by a kids book written by Ezra Jack Keats that my parents bought me years ago.  “Discipline Gets Lost in a World of Mallets” is dedicated to the host of the “Records with the Fat Man” show on WWOZ radio in New Orleans who years ago played a record that had a jazz solo on tubular bells.    

Thanks to Charles Taylor of the music department at the University of New Orleans for letting me use the percussion instruments and mallets for the “Discipline” sessions.  Thanks also goes to Brian Seeger and Missy Bowen for helping me coordinate those sessions.  Thanks to Ben Lorio and Jared Marcell at the Music Shed for the recording, editing, and mixing hours and to Steve Reynolds for recording the “Discipline” sessions.

Thanks goes in order to vibraphonists past and present from Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo, Milt Jackson, Victor Feldman, Bobby Hutcherson, Gary Burton, Mike Mineiri, Dave Samuels, Jay Hoggard, Steve Nelson, Stefon Harris, Warren Wolf, Norbert Lucarain (your records are incredible!) James Westfall, Roman Skakun, Tim Collins, and to the vibraphonists who I’ve forgotten and the ones who are up and coming.

A debt of gratitude is owed to the original members of the percussion ensemble M’Boom: Max Roach, Joe Chambers, Warren Smith, Roy Brooks, Freddie Waits, Omar Clay, Fred King, Ray Mantilla, and Kenyatte Abdur-Rahman.  Without M’Boom, the “Discipline” mallet tracks (or drums for that matter) would not be possible.

Thanks to Bags, Duke & Strayhorn, Stravinsky, Jaco, Pettiford, LSU Tigers, Mystikal, Enya, The Three Kings, Berlioz, Linus and Lucy, Lulu, the Fairy Godmother, and Ornette for their “inspirational quotes”.


Produced by Jason Marsalis

Engineered by Ben Lorio

Vibes Quartet was recorded at the Music Shed on Jan. 9, 2012

Discipline Ensemble was recorded at UNO Recording Studios on Feb. 11-12, 2012

Editing and mixing: Music Shed in New Orleans, LA between February and May.

Mastering: Mark Wilder at Battery Mastering in New York, NY

Photos: Jeff Strout

Graphic Design: Diana Thornton of Crescent Music Services

Jason Marsalis plays Majestic Vibraphone from Jupiter Instruments.  Dave Potter endorses Vic Firth sticks and Mapex drums.

This album is dedicated to the memory of Abram Wilson, a great friend and  trumpeter raised in New Orleans, LA who was gone to soon.



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