Throwing in a pair of originals with an
assortment of covers, Dan St. Marseille has a license to
thrill with Invitation (Resurgent Music, 2016).
St. Marseille plays tenor saxophone and clarinet. He’s
accompanied by Claudio Roditi, trumpet and flugelhorn; Bill
Cunliffe, piano; Roger Shew, bass; and Paul Kreibich, drums.
Special guests on three tracks are Gary Foster, alto
saxophone and clarinet; and Chris Dawson on piano.
The title song is an elegant take on the classic composed by
Bronislaw Kaper. Adapted by many jazz artists over the
years, “Invitation” began as a selection in the 1950 film,
A Life of Her Own. However, it became a standard
after being used as the theme for the 1952 film of the same
name. St. Marseille takes point on the first pass of the
melody, with Roditi handling what counts for the chorus. On
the second chorus, the duet shares the lead with St.
Marseille deviating from the prescribed path, creating a
charming harmony. What follows is jazz heaven. Roditi
stretches out, occasionally dipping into the theme to
supplement his free spirit. St. Marseille then steps out in
purse, toe-tapping, finger-snapping style. After Cunliffe
takes a turn, the song reverts to the theme. The rhythm trio
is solid throughout the piece.
“Spacious,” a St. Marseille original, features Foster and
Dawson, the former in a duet with the leader. It’s another
toe tapper, with the saxes delivering one bouncy series
after another. Shew is in a zone, as the bass figures
prominently underneath the leads. Solos are by St.
Marseille, Dawson, Foster and Shew, respectively. During the
duet portions, the saxes are perfectly in synch, blending
St. Marseille has worked with several notables, among them
Poncho Sanchez, Richie Cole, Cab Calloway and Mel Torme. He
has performed in Europe, Canada, and many jazz festivals
including as a headliner at the Coleman Hawkins Festival in
Topeka, Kansas. In April of 1999, he was inducted into the
Saddleback Valley School District Hall of Fame with golfer
Mark O’Meara and soccer player Julie Foudy.