Drummer John Marshall: Still Playing The Music(From the December 2004 Issue)

Since the ’60s, John Marshall’s presence behind the drums has been a guarantee of lively and interactive music. A fixture in British jazz, Marshall also powered the fusion of Soft Machine, the art rock of Jack Bruce’s Harmony Row, and the ECM stylings of Eberhard Weber’s Colours during the ’70s.

Not resting on his laurels, Marshall continues to take on new projects. The Triangle (ECM) is the second release by Arild Anderson’s trio featuring Marshall and Greek pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos. Meanwhile, jazz-rock fans will heed Soft Works, which teams Marshall with fellow Soft Machine veterans Allan Holdsworth, Elton Dean, and Hugh Hopper.

Regarding Arild’s trio, Marshall comments, “We fit together like a glove, really. The piano trio is a rather special lineup. Having three people gives you a sort of flexibility and a strength at the same time. What seems limiting compared to a bigger group is in fact not, although dynamically you have to pull it down. But you don’t have to pull it down too far. That’s the danger, that it gets a bit precious, as far as I’m concerned. But Arild’s a very strong player, and that works for me and Vassilis. I just love bass players, and I’m lucky enough to play with some great ones.”

by Pat Buzby