“Let the blues blood flow and come out to show them”: A review of “A Quiet Farewell, Twenty Sixteen to Twenty Eighteen” by Slauson Malone

Jasper Marsalis (left) pictured with the rapper Medhane (right) (Samuel Diamond/Tiny Mix Tapes)

Slauson Malone’s debut album explores jazz and the blues in a new way

A black hole on the cover of “A Quiet Farewell”
(Slauson Malone/Bolade Banjo)

Slauson Malone is the solo project of New York based producer, visual artist and Standing on the Corner collaborator Jasper Marsalis, who is also the son of renowned jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

In recent years he has released a wide variety of different musical projects, many of which were collaborations. These include an album with New York rapper Medhane entitled “Poorboy,” two albums recorded for Standing on the Corner with New York jazz musician Gio Escobar, and a variety of solo releases on SoundCloud.

“A Quiet Farewell, Twenty Sixteen to Twenty Eighteen,” which came out last Thursday, is Marsalis’ first solo release. The album assembles a wide variety of samples and compositions that fuse jazz, soul and hip-hop together. It is reminiscent of Standing on the Corner’s “Red Burns,” which was the last project Marsalis was involved with.

Much like “Red Burns,” “A Quiet Farewell” takes the essence of jazz— the blues— and repurposes it through a wide array of references.

Ralph Ellison once said, “The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it.”

“A Quiet Farewell” illustrates just that, it is about the struggle that comes with being African-American.

The essence of the blues can be seen on the song “01/01/09, My feet’s hurt ‘I was a fugitive but then I realized there was nowhere to run’” references Steve Reich’s “Come Out,” an important civil rights era song, with Marsalis saying, “Blues blood, wait / come out to show em.”

The album’s denotative style is essay-like. It draws from different sources support a thesis centered around black misery. The YouTube video for “01/01/09, My feet’s hurt “I was a fugitive but then I realized there was nowhere to run to” even includes a works cited section in it’s description.

The academic manner in which “A Quiet Farewell” approaches its theme is refreshing. It stands as more than just an opinion; encompassing the thoughts of many different individuals. Marsalis’ latest release is a truly cohesive body of work that represents a new era in jazz music.