Anwar Marshall Brings the Funk to Kimmel Cultural Campus: A Rhythmic Maestro’s Musical Journey

by Madonna

Philadelphia’s own Anwar Marshall, a prominent figure in the world of drums, is set to showcase his rhythmic prowess at Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Commonwealth Plaza on Thursday, Jan. 18. With an impressive resume of collaborations with jazz luminaries like Robert Glasper, Christian McBride, and Pat Metheny, Marshall has carved his niche not only as a skilled drummer but also as a composer and band leader. Following the release of his solo album ‘Cold’ last year, Marshall sat down with Metro to discuss his musical journey and the upcoming live performance.

Marshall’s journey into drumming began with a profound appreciation for the dynamic nature of the drum set. He recognizes the drum’s ability to provide music, especially in the realm of Black music, with its distinctive vibe, pace, and tone. The drum set, according to Marshall, acts as a rhythmic foundation that sets the context for the entire musical composition, citing iconic breakbeats like James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” as a testament to the drum’s transformative power.

The drummer also delves into his collaborations with esteemed bandleaders and collaborators like Orrin Evans, Joey DeFrancesco, and Marcus Miller. Marshall highlights the musical convictions and stylistic uniqueness of these leaders, emphasizing their ability to find the right collaborators to bring their musical visions to life. As a band leader himself, Marshall shares his passion for combining various musical skills, including composition, instrument-playing, and production, to create a cohesive and unique musical experience.

Discussing his solo album ‘Cold,’ Marshall reflects on the impact of the pandemic on his creative process. The record, crafted during this challenging period, allowed him to explore different musical skills and collaborate with fellow musicians, maintaining a connection with the musical community. Marshall also opens up about the personal inspiration behind the album, particularly the reflection on Black music and the intersection of genres like Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop, and BeBop.

A standout track on ‘Cold’ is “Brother Malcolm’s Message,” where Marshall pays homage to Malcolm X and his unrealized goals with the Organization of Afro-American Unity. The drummer acknowledges the profound influence of Malcolm X’s vision and the tragic circumstances that led to the organization’s unrealized potential.

Looking ahead to the upcoming show at the Kimmel, Marshall promises a funky, swinging, and enjoyable performance. Collaborating with accomplished musicians Lawrence Fields on piano and Jeremiah Edwards on bass, Marshall anticipates a unique interpretation of his original material. Fields and Edwards bring their exceptional skills to the stage, promising an exciting and soulful musical experience for the audience.

As for the future, Marshall expresses his commitment to continuous improvement. With a goal to be better in 2024, he emphasizes ongoing practice and aims to step into a greater role as a leader. Grateful for the opportunity provided by the Kimmel, Marshall looks forward to a year of growth and increased contributions to the world of music.

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