The Marcus Roberts Trio is known for its virtuosic style – a style that is strongly rhythmic, melodic, and filled with dynamic contrast. This trio has an entirely new approach to jazz trio performance. The group was founded in 1995, and 15 years later, they are known around the world for their signature trio style. Roberts' vision of the jazz trio grew rapidly following the selection of drummer Jason Marsalis for the drum chair in 1994 (when Jason was just 17). Bassist Rodney Jordan is the most recent addition to the trio and his profound musical intelligence has already left its mark on the trio's sound.
Although the piano is typically the focus of most jazz trios, in the Marcus Roberts Trio, all musicians share equally in shaping the direction of the music through changing its tempo, mood, texture, or form, through a system of musical cues. As a result, each trio member's enormous individual talent is showcased along with the powerfully rhythmic group sound. This has led more than a few concert goers to comment that it sounds like a lot more than three people up there on the stage! One of the most enjoyable aspects of a Marcus Roberts Trio concert is that it is so apparent to the audience that these three musicians are really having fun playing together.
Roberts' current focus is on expanding their unique trio format to larger ensembles (ranging from quartet to septet, octet and larger). In this way, all musicians on the stage will use their quick musical reflexes and creative imaginations to improvise freely as individuals and as a group while maintaining the same powerfully rhythmic group sound.