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Morning Spew

Jasper Marsalis Makes Noise at the Park Avenue Armory

The experimental project Slauson Malone 1 will play the Armory again tonight. Plus, more links for your Thursday.

(Hell Gate)

In the Veterans Room of the Park Avenue Armory tonight, Slauson Malone 1, the moniker of the experimental musician Jasper Marsalis, will present the second night of his Artists Studio residency performance. Joining Marsalis is cello accompaniment from Nicky Wetherell.

Jasper Marsalis is the son of jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, who is the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. While Wynton is known as an arch jazz traditionalist, Jasper has always operated at the margins of what could be described as "jazz," including as a former member of the experimental jazz ensemble Standing on the Corner.

From what I saw last night, Jasper's performance at the Armory, which includes cuts from Slauson Malone 1's 2023 album "EXCELSIOR," blurs the lines between an R&B singer-songwriter performance and atonal noise, with sporadic dips into the baroque. Led by Marsalis on electric guitar and supported by a stately and meditative backing from Wetherell's cello, the performance is filled with experimental accents—loops, electronic swells, screams that echo through the handsome appointments of the Gothic landmark's Veterans Room, lined with portraits of god-knows-who. There are also projections of memes and internet videos playing in an adjacent room against a hum of industrial-sounding noise, all of which seemed to be a little beside the point. 

But it was a pleasant vibe, and with Marsalis dressed in a tank top with his guitar and half-stack amp wailing, it read like his reflection on what it means to be a successful musician, a rock star by any other name, among the fineries of the art music-industrial complex: The questionable plausibility of artistic independence, of punk that thanks its donors and curators. With his dad in the audience, Marsalis seemed to try to wrangle some meaning to him being there today.

This season of Artist Studio performances is curated by jazz musician Jason Moran, whom Marsalis thanked personally last night. The next performance, on May 18, will be from the Philadelphia experimental Black noise project Moor Mother, which is fronted by the poet Camae Ayewa and backed by free jazz stalwarts Irreversible Entanglements.

—Adlan Jackson

You will be irreversibly entangled by these links:

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