In Pursuit of the 9th Man
Todd Marcus is an unusual jazz musician in that the bass clarinet is his primary instrument, having been inspired by Eric Dolphy’s recordings. A self-taught composer, he put together a group of top players from the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area for these studio sessions, which feature his potent post-bop originals. His solo is the centerpiece of the frenetic “In Pursuit of the 9th Man.” The exotic “Ma’aelsalama” suggests a caravan across the Arabian desert at first, then switches to waltz time in a melancholy setting. “Prelude” is a brief, miniature duet showcasing trombonist Reginald Cyntje with Marcus providing background color. The song title “Mr. Sunshine and His Eight Bandits” is evidently an inside joke referring to Marcus and his band; the leader doubles on organ in this rather ominous sounding but very enticing composition. Todd Marcus shows a lot of promise with his exciting recording debut as a leader.