Written by by Grayson Jones
I love jazz due to the rich and vast history behind it. I love jazz music because of the expression that is necessary for it to succeed. I got to sit in on someone else’s jazz realm this afternoon listening to Marcus Joseph’s, Beyond the Dome.
Marcus Joseph is a saxophonist, composer, writer, and all around conscious artist. His music derives from a genuine place. One is pulled into this space while listening to the project. It is a pure experience. The album shows produces a seemingly transparent look into who he is. Joseph introduces you to many of his skills: songwriting, spoken word, and developing an overall structuring of music.
The best way to listen to this album is cover to cover. I say that because the first track prepares the scene. I loved the first track, the name is appropriate due to the theme of Giants. You name a bigger brass than a tuba. It starts you off like a great movie would, with a firm relatable upbeat melody where he gets to showcase his skills in his early style of play in, Arrival of the Giants. Another cool thing about the album as a whole is each song is complete in its own way. You don’t have to listen cover to cover to get the full Marcus Joseph experience. I think the ending of each song could be the end of the album. It’s bittersweet once you get to, What If, and you hear the strings sprinkle over your ears, trickling down like the role credits. Beyond the dome has a powerful message “Beyond the dome is my yellow brick road, Beyond your dome is your yellow brick road...” If you’ve ever seen the Wizard of Oz you know the road to success/happiness is long and Windy.
We all have our own path simply put. Being religiously driven, no wonder they're no wrong notes on this entire album. Patience, passion, and manifestation. Puzzle Paradigm was a flex. The flow of time signature were always the hardest part of music for me to follow- let alone perform. The song is mainly in a ¾ time pattern, not the most common time signature in jazz. Puzzle Paradigm is the track you play for someone who doesn't like jazz but you want them to get a Marcus Joseph experience. This song sways in a waltz manner, coupled with riveting articulation. Songs like Old Flame and Challenge Day are for those who want to hear what jazz is known for, improv. Some of my favorite licks from Marcus are in these two songs. I find it truly fascinating how one could never run out of unique cutting-edge solos. The expression through his sax comes out strictly conversational. I am not sure if he is the only musician playing here but you have to hear the conversations that took place.The most underrated part of the album is his composing. In the last track alone you will hear some great blends of strings, auxiliary percussion, and brass. That's all I can say about the album without giving away some of the most astounding percussion I’ve heard in a while. How can you make seven different songs with the same alto sax? On the same album?
Check out Beyond the Dome.