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Rock Masters: Surfer's Stomp

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Album Review

The Marketts weren't a band in the standard sense, but a collection of veteran Los Angeles session players assembled by producer Joe Saraceno to capitalize on the emerging surf music scene of the early '60s. Loosely known as "the wrecking crew," and including, among others, guitarists Tommy Tedesco and Rene Hall, sax player Plas Johnson, bassist Jimmy Gordon, and drummers Earl Palmer and Ed Hall, the so-called Marketts had more in common with 1940s jazz than they did Dick Dale, and this charming collection of shuffles, stomps, and trippy lounge jazz is really a genre all its own. The group's first single, 1962's "Surfer's Stomp" b/w "Balboa Blue," is indicative, featuring a lazy, sax-led shuffle on the A-side, reprising the same rhythm on "Balboa Blue," only with a different melody line (again led by Johnson's sax) that generates a leisurely, joyous, and infectious groove. This is wonderful stuff, and while this version of the Marketts (they were really more a brand than a group) was marketed as a surf outfit, their gentle merging of R&B and small combo swing is really something else again, a style that — for lack of a better term — might be called "surf jazz."


Formed: 1961

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '60s

The Marketts are sometimes classified as a surf group because of their hit instrumental "Out of Limits," one of the last big surf singles, which made number three in early 1964. In reality, they were something of an all-purpose contemporary instrumental group with elements of surf, rock, pop, and even easy listening. And they were not really a group, but a fluid collection of Los Angeles session musicians, working under the direction of producer Joe Saraceno. Saraceno was the principal man behind...
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