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Concert Review
Drummer Eddie Marshall:  1938-2011

Drummer Eddie Marshall

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Drummer and Bay Area jazz legend Eddie Marshall passed away Wednesday, September 7, 2011, following a heart attack. He was 73 years old.

Coming from a family of musicians in Springfield, MA, Marshall has been acknowledged as a leading figure in the evolution of San Francisco's contemporary jazz sound.

For over 50 years he played drums with nearly every major name in jazz, from Freddie Hubbard, Jon Hendricks and Dexter Gordon to Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Eddie Harris. A consummate sideman, Marshall was the designated house drummer at San Francisco's famed nightclub, Keystone Korner, during the 1970s. His most long-standing musical associations have been with Toshiko Akiyoshi ( with whom he has played since 1958), the late Stan Getz, vibist and NEA Jazz Master Bobby Hutcherson, and Bobby McFerrin.

Marshall also co-founded (with Mike Nock) the seminal jazz fusion group, The Fourth Way.

In 1984, Marshall underwent heart surgery, and was forced to scale back his drumming. 

Since 1989, Marshall has also been performing within a large variety of ensemble arrangements on alto and soprano recorders, baroque instruments rarely heard in jazz.

While playing with many of the greatest jazz musicians of his day, Marshall has also distinguished himself as a composer. With two albums of original music to his name, his work is appreciated for both its driving intensity and joyous, melodic lyricism.

Chamber Music America, with support from the Doris Duke Foundation, awarded Marshall two grants through their New Works and New Works Encore Program, commissioning him to compose an original piece. "Dreams That Dance: A Suite," performed by Marshall's Holy Mischief Ensemble, premiered at the San Francisco Jazz Festival in November 2004.

Since 1981, Marshall maintained an active teaching schedule in addition to his busy performance career. He has taught traps, jazz theory, composition, and small and big band arranging at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and Rhythmic Concepts Jazz Camp since 1984.

Part of San Francisco Symphony's "Adventures in Music" series throughout the 1990's, he also taught ensemble classes at The Jazzschool in Berkeley. He also led several free after-school instrument instruction programs, including guitarist Bruce Forman's innovative JazzMasters Workshop for which he was the Bay Area director.

In 2000, the San Francisco Jazz Festival honored Marshall with its first annual Beacon Award, celebrating his lifelong commitment to jazz music and education. From 2000 to 2003, Marshall served as the Music Chair of the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Since 2007, Marshall has toured and recorded with the great vibraphonist, Bobby Hutcherson, continuing a more than 30-year collaboration, which according to Marshall, has been one of the highlights of his career.

There will be a memorial for Marshall beginning at 7.30 pm on Sunday, Sept. 11 at The Jazzschool, 2087 Addison Street, in Berkeley.

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