Jeff Marx Quartet: The Great Unknown
After spending more than a decade in New York where he played with such heavyweights as Reggie Workman, Thurman Barker and a budding Dave Douglas, Jeff Marx relocated to Chicago around 1993. So, it should not come as a surprise if he called up some old NYC friends (pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Jeff Siegel) for his first outing as a leader. Jeff Marx wanted [to take his listeners into familiar territory] this first opus to be accessible and put together a well-balanced program of standards and originals by himself as well as some current and former collaborators such as the late and legendary Arthur Rhames. In a nutshell, "The Great Unknown" is a post-bop affair with strong lyrical content as demonstrated by the beautiful closing tone poem ("yellow").
Jeff Marx's seemingly effortless playing is remarkable throughout. He shows some great skills at subtly building tension whether it is through his writing ("song for jamie" and "the great unknown") or his playing (an exemplary reading of "meaning of the blues"). From a very supportive and tight rhythm section, I would like to single out Michael Jefry Stevens whose unobtrusive playing should not make you miss his pertinent accompaniment and original rhythms and ideas. He is usually in charge of laying out the foundation on which Jeff Marx can build.
The music on "The Great Unknown" is memorable and each new listen will reveal some hidden troves.—Alain Drout
To get your own copy, call 718-434-0534 or 773-463-5362.