Pianist Marshall Vente has been successfully traveling on the long journey of jazz. The initial MV Trio was formed in 1966 and MV toured Europe with Talented Teens USA in '68. While in college MV's was influenced and inspired by trumpeter/composer/arranger Paul Smoker, a two-day clinic/concert with Cannonball Adderley and even played a week with rock legend Spencer Davis. Also, in the early '70's MV studied with Brazilian pianist Manfredo Fest.
The current and long-running edition of the Marshall Vente Trio has included bassist Scott Mason (since '79) and drummer Isi Perez (since '75); they have been an integral part of all of his musical projects, collaborations and gigs. Their alternates, bassist Jim Batson and Brazilian drummer Luiz Ewerling have been performing with MV since '91.
Project 9, a jazz nonet, was assembled in '79 as a vehicle to write and compose new music. This lead to MV's two consecutive National Endowment for Arts Jazz Apprenticeships with David Matthews and Gil Evans, '82-87; a NEA Composer Grant; and, two Illinois Art Council Composer Grants. Also, four critically acclaimed recordings: Endless Intensity, No Net, Alison's Backyard and Marshall Law. Project 9 has expanded to a 12-pc ensemble and has a long running collaboration with saxophonist Billy Harper.
MV collaborated with bassist/vocalist Eldee Young beginning in '87. This lead to two recordings: The Long & Short of Jazz and Step Up to the Mic. Eldee was also featured guest on Marshall Law and was a part of all of MV's gigs until his sudden death in '07.
Tropicale, an ensemble specializing in modern Brazilian, Latin and Caribbean Music was formed in '91 and released the recording Tropicale ('96). This also led to collaboration with steel drum virtuoso Neville York of St. Maarten, five tours to the Caribbean, ’99-03, and two recordings: Sweet Salt and Jazz Flamboyant. A duo recording of Black Orpheus, MV's piano and vocalist Joanie Pallatto, lead to the critically acclaimed recording, Two. Also, MV's radio show, Jazz Tropicale, was launched in '92 and can be heard every Sunday at 10 pm CST on WDCB 90.9fm, streamed via www.wdcb.org The annual Jazz Tropicale Cruise aboard the tall ship Windy, has set sail in mid-July since '95.
Over the years MV has also lead an original big band, composed and arranged music for the Chicago Bears Big Bear Band (performed at the Monteux and North Sea Jazz Festivals) and is a freelance composer/arranger for hire.
In 2014 Marshall began became a jazz-educator writing new arrangements and leading the Large Jazz Ensemble at Roosevelt University, Chicago.
All of this activity inspired the Marshall Vente Jazz Festival, which featured many other Chicago based composer/performers and their national, and international "name" friends. The Jazz Showcase hosted this festival from '93-06 and there is great interest to reactivate this annual event in the future.
MV currently plays gigs and special events in Chicago nearly every day and also ventures out-of-town.
Apart from jazz and creative music, MV also leads the Chicago Blues Review and the Marshall Vente Band, performing nearly all the commercial music of the last 60 years for private and corporate special events, charity galas, trade shows, etc.
Also visit www.MarshallVente.com and review the article The Complicated Mind of Marshall Vente, by Dave Hoekstra published in Lake Magazine.
QUOTES AND ENDORSEMENTS
"From the land of the Cubs, White Sox and a whipping wind comes an arranger with an original, brainy approach to standards, nonstandards and an original or two. It's Vente's fresh touch as a composer, arranger and leader that separates him from the pack."
Lee Jeske, Cashbox
"Vente, a pianist, composer and arranger, one of the more devoted of his craft, as well as one of the more restless innovators."
Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Sun Times
"Energy, work, brains and feeling have gone into this album (No Net), and these elements are returned to the listener."
Owen Cordle, Downbeat
"Though listeners often think of Vente as an impresario, bandleader and arranger, we sometimes forget how well he can play a piano ... he's one of the finest jazz pianists in the city. The larger than life tone Vente draws from the instrument, the harmonic imagination that colors everything he plays and rhythmic restlessness he expresses with his right hand distinguishes him."
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
"Marshall Vente wears all of his hats with equal flair: keyboardist, composer, arranger and even DJ. He also leads five ensembles on a regular basis."
Neil Tesser, Critic's Choice, Chicago Reader
"Having a composer of your caliber brings in ten (big band) arrangements of mostly original material, professionally copied, and adding the powerful voice of Billy Harper's saxophone was a real honor and pleasure for all of us. From the rehearsals to the material I was able to use in a combined theory class to the final performance, our work together exemplified everything people in my business like to say we're about but rarely get a chance to do. Without your organizational skills and clear understanding of the goals for a final product we would have been dead meat, and I love any opportunity to show the public what a myth the space cadet jazz player is."
Tom Tallman, Music Director, Arts Center Jazz Ensemble, College of DuPage, McAninch Arts Center
“Behind the jovial exterior of Marshall Vente lies a deep soul, a highly sophisticated performer of live and improvised music, who brings music to new heights and climaxes like only very few can do. Marshall Vente is also a perfectionist in his craft and his knowledge of the jazz piano literature is encyclopedic. Chicago is lucky to have been able to retain a musician of this stature, who certainly is a key contributor to making Chicago a world destination for jazz lovers.”
Thomas Zoells, Founder and Executive Director, piano Forte Foundation.