Scott Marshall is a present and future master: he already has his Master's Degree in jazz studies (University of North Texas), and he is emerging as a masterful jazz composer, arranger, and soloist. Based in Toronto, Marshall is busy on the jazz scene there playing gigs as well as composing and arranging for other jazz musicians. In the midst of his regular work, he's self-produced two CD projects: Face It (2002) and now Nine Moments of Time (2007). The latter is comprised entirely of original compositions; Marshall contributed all but one (by pianist Marcel Aucoin).
This is a lovely CD, full of interesting and beautiful jazz. The pacing is thoughtful--opening with an up-tempo 8-bar blues, "Cell Phone Blues," to wake you to the talent of this quartet, followed by a walking swinger, "Cool with Rain (January 31st, 2003)," then a light Latin-styled vamp piece, "South Exposure," featuring some very nice drums and percussion by Nick Fraser, then a loping 12-bar blues, "November Blues," and so on. "Peggy Burke" must be--or have been--a beautiful female influence in Marshall's life (real or imagined), judging by the languorous ballad he wrote with her name. The original contributed by pianist Marcel Aucoin, "Speed Dark," is well-titled as a fast modal tune, the kind of song that John Coltrane would have felt at home in, and Marshall certainly covers it well on tenor. "Hymn for Spring," the closing song, is a pretty melody piece; with lyrics and some arranging it could pass as a popular ballad or folk song.
Marshall's sound on tenor is smooth and controlled, but without the breathiness common to many tenor players. On soprano sax, which he uses frequently on this record, he has excellent control without any harshness or brittleness. His quartet members play very well together; Fraser's drumming is especially inventive and flexible.
Nine Moments of Time is well-crafted jazz art. Marshall's compositions are impressive, the musicianship of the quartet is high, and the overall effect is very good jazz worthy of a spot in your music collection.