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The Magic of Three
by Treasa O'Driscoll

The jazz scene once conjured up images of smoky bars, drug addiction and disfunctional lifestyles for me and only in the last ten years have I begun to appreciate jazz as an essential and necessary expression of our North American contemporary consciousness. In this as in other matters, my children have been my teachers especially my daughter who took to jazz singing in as natural a way as I had taken to the Irish traditional idioms of my childhood. I am not always preaching to the converted however, when I voice my appreciation for this artform. So when I collaborated with Barrie Jazz and Blues Festival chairman Robin Munro, in adding Nottawasaga Village to this year's venues, it was in the hope of stimulating enthusiasm for the genre.

See Scott Marshall Trio Live! {Click Here}

Villagers and friends who showed up at Novalis Hall at 3:00pm on Sunday June 13, were initiated into a state-of-the-art-of-jazz performance by the Scott Marshall Trio that could delight the informed listener as well as the neophyte. To begin with there was the visual appeal of the musicians themselves, three handsome young men who had bonded on the common musical ground of a New Brunswick university campus. They are all homegrown maritimers, destined to grace the world stage on the sheer merit of their innate musicality, discipline and the inspired innovative approach they bring to arranging and composing. Each one is a virtuoso in the making. Scott brings his genius to bear as improviser and musical director on soprano, alto and tenor saxophone. The concert featured a few of his compositions. Cuban Phone Crisis, with its inverted Cuban themes demonstrated how one can dynamically fly into a rage on the saxophone. Marcel Aucoin on grand piano and acoustic bass player Wes Neal also played their compositions to great effect. There was no drum to underpin the improvisational flights in which all three musicians could indulge. Nevertheless you could have set a clock to the steady rhythm which was impressively sustained in every piece, making it possible for the listener to really enter into the spirit of the whole. The audience experienced a presentation of pure harmony, each improvisational contribution was distinct and free and yet the total effect was greater than the sum of the parts. Imagine a conversation in which each person listens so supportively that the speaker in each instant is inspired to say more than he/she knows and surprises even him/herself. There is an added sense in the course of this exchange that new substance is being formed in the creative ether.

When I stood in front of the audience after the last note had sounded into the silence I saw a sea of happy faces. People had become more themselves. A threefoldness had worked its magic integration… Dr. Fabian summed it up well: "The nerve system (sax), rhythmic system (bass) and metabolic system (piano) were working perfectly together!"



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