Left to right: Michael Malis, Marcus Elliot! and Ben Rolston (Stephen Boegehold, not pictured)
Last Tuesday night, I finally got down to cliff Bells to see the Marcus Elliot quartet with Marcus Elliot actually playing. The last time I went there, Marcus Elliot was not there. I got a good parking spot after a little search. I felt comfortable since I was walking by the place where cops have dinner breaks and I has seen a cop car parked nearby. The smokers were hanging outside the door shivering.
The quartet was Marcus Elliot ( sax) , Michael Malis (piano), Ben Rolston ( bass) and Stephen Boegehold (drums). The service was good and I got my club soda and lime quickly. I sat right up in the front where there would be no distractions since I was not planning on staying for more than one set. As usual, none of the songs were introduced so I just was able to take in the music and not have any expectations about what I was hearing. This Is usually good since I know that asking some musicians to play a request can be problematic. If they want to play the song, all is good. But, if it isn’t their thing that night, it sometimes goes poorly. So, I like to hear what they want to play even if it does not particularly fit my mood. If I can get into the music, it doesn’t matter.
So what I can say is that the group plays cohesively. I have heard Marcus Elliot for several years now and he is constantly improving. What is especially like about the way he plays the sax is the tone. It is more like voice than an instrument. He plays with a certain character that is definitely his voice. It is so great when I can hear the voice of the musician in the music. The group is a tight group and I hear them acting as a group and not a competing set of egos. The group blends the music so when there is a solo it is part of a natural progression. The solos in this group seem to be meaningful and not so long that you forget there is a group present. All in all it was an enjoyable set.