The Todd Marcus Quintet has the potential to be one of the most eclectic and enjoyable straight jazz gigs of the year. The eclecticism comes from the instrumentation- clarinet and bass clarinet taking the place of the (modern) traditional saxes and horns. Any number of players follow legendary early '60s saxophonist Eric Dolphy in doubling on the bass clarinet. Few have focused on it with the exclusivity of Marcus. It’s hard to see why, the instrument has a deep, richly wooden that can articulate complex passages with supple athleticism. The band also features Don Byron, one of the modern masters of the (familiar) clarinet. Byron built his early reputation with a great series of klezmer projects. It the idea of a young black artist playing Jewish music flirted with high concept, it was totally redeemed by virtuosity and an obvious love of the music. Byron’s work also encompasses soul, gospel, and bebop/post-bop. But since Marcus’ recent work incorporates elements inspired by his Egyptian-American heritage (including “Blues from Tahir”) the teaming promises a new ethnic crossover.
It’s an early evening show. Doors open at 5 p.m., the show starts at 5:30. (Note: the food at the Camel is fine. And the beer list is extensive.)
Todd Marcus Quintet (featuring Don Byron) at the Camel on Broad Street on Sunday, May 22 .(Across from Lowes.) Tickets are $12 at the door.