A ballerina dances across a stream on a bridge in an autumn forest. Good friends and family, who have passed on, leave warm memories. In the early morning a neighborhood wakes and the city begins to bustle with activity. An old German town in Central Texas is surrounded by orchards, vineyards and wildflowers. An old house on an abandoned road, the late-night rain on a city's downtown warehouse district, and the view from the top of a dam that separates two picturesque lakes. These are the varied feelings and imagery that inspired his nine albums of contemporary instrumental music that is perfect for relaxation, healing, spiritual meditations, yoga and massage.
Unlike many synth-players who are always searching for the very latest technology, Styler feels he creates a unique sound by using a combination of piano, modern digital keyboards and older classic analog-based synthesizers. "I love the warmth and feel that some of the early synths create, and some of those sounds are only available on that original equipment" explains Styler.
After saying goodbye to a successful rock'n'roll career where he sold hundreds of thousands of albums and concert tickets with his band Duke Jupiter, Marshall Styler moved to the other end of the musical spectrum and began creating his best-selling soft solo recordings. While his earlier music was inspired first by traditional jazz and then by jam-bands and progressive-rock groups, his current instrumental albums owe a debt to his childhood love of classical music and more recent inspirational new age acts such as Andreas Vollenweider and Deep Forest. Styler's earliest musical memories include his grandfather playing ragtime (he was a piano player in vaudeville and movie houses) and his mother listening to classical music all the time when Marshall was growing up in his hometown of Rochester, New York.
"I gravitated toward the piano concertos by Beethoven, Handel and Mozart." In grade school he played tuba and saxophone, but when he was 12, his father purchased an old piano. Marshall took lessons, and also immediately began making up his own songs.
He also was drawn to jazz Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Jimmy Smith, Erroll Garner and Thelonius Monk. Marshall put his first band together when he was 15 and on weekends they played at the high school or at a downtown coffee shop until 4 a.m.
When the musical 'British Invasion' hit in the mid-Sixties, Styler bought an electric piano and switched to playing rock'n'roll. He formed "Lincoln Zephyr" in 1967, Rochester's first psychedelic band. "We played a lot of original material that I wrote, did a lot of blues jamming and covered some things by Wilson Pickett, Cream, Ray Charles end Stevie Winwood."
After a stint in Southern California. Styler headed back east to start Duke Jupiter which had strong major-label national success. They began as an instrumental band blending jazz and blues-rock, eventually added vocals and often jammed improvisationally onstage. Throughout their career Styler wrote approximately 60 percent of their material and shared the lead vocals.
Duke Jupiter got a major label deal with Mercury Records for their first three albums. The first recording, "Sweet Cheeks," was produced by Chuck Leavell (who has played with the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones) and he steered the band in the direction of Southern Rock. Recorded in Macon, Georgia, at Capricorn Studios, the album Included special guest percussionist Jaimoe (Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Charlie Daniels). For the second album, Taste The Night, the band re-explored its jazz/rock roots a bit more this time using famed producer Glen Kolotkin (Hendrix. Joan Jett, Santana, Electric Flag, Legendary guitarist Steve Katz (The Blues Project, Blood Sweat & Tears) produced the third project, "Band in Blue." During these years Duke Jupiter toured with ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bob Seger, BB King, etc., etc...
The band switched to another label, CBS Records' affiliate Coast to Coast Records for the next two albums and enjoyed their biggest success with a rockier sound produced again by by Glen Kolotkin. The album was entitled "Duke 1" to signify that the band felt like they were starting over. A live version of "I'll Drink To You" was filmed and the video aired repeatedly on MTV (Top 15 on their charts). The next year Duke Jupiter released "You Make It Look Easy," produced by Ashley Howe (Ted Nugent, Uriah Heep). Meanwhile the band was touring the country coast-to-coast with acts such as REO SpeedWagon, Foreigner, David Bowie, Blue Oyster Cult and The Outlaws. In their hometown Rochester N.Y. Duke Jupiter headlined in front of 25,000 fans. As their popularity ascended, the band suffered hardship too. in the groups first half-dozen years, two band-member died.
Duke Jupiter went on to sign with Morocco Records, a rock n roll subsidiary of Motown Records and recorded two albums again produced by Kolotkin, White Knuckle Ride and The Line of Your Fire. Blending pop-rock with straight-ahead rock, Duke Jupiter continued to gain fans, and sell well. They toured with Huey Lewis & The News, Toto, etc... In the mid-Eighties with the collapse of Morocco Records and after a decade-and-a-half of non-stop recording and touring, the band called it quits.
Their final album was a best-of collection called "The Band Played On." However they reunite every few years for special concerts. On his own ,musically, after helming a hard-working rock band for so many years, Marshall moved to Austin and played with several Austin-area rock groups, but finally decided he wanted to try a different musical approach. He had recorded a demo of instrumental piano music a few years earlier and sent it as a valentine to his future wife, Kate. With her encouragement, he decided to pursue that direction. Kate became his manager and he was soon performing four or five nights a week. In 1990 he recorded his first full album, "Camden Road," which was only released regionally, but it opened the door for his full-fledged solo-recording career.
In 1992 Styler began releasing an acclaimed, best selling series of new emotion-filled piano and synthesizer CDs beginning with his "Red River Trilogy" comprised of the albums Bluefields, Mockingbird Station and Red River Crossing. All containing musical impressions of the Hill Country of Central Texas. "Its scenery and people continually inspire me," he says. He continued to mine these themes in subsequent releases — Jericho. The Twilight Concertos, A Face In The Clouds, Seven Falls, and The Necklace. Selections of his original music were joined with breath-taking photographic images by James Innes to create the Dreammaker DVD. Marshall's only foray away from writing his own material came with Silent Night, containing his renditions of 14 traditional Christmas carols.
"I consider myself an Impressionist," Styler explains, "...in the spirit of the French impressionist painters—Degas, Monet, Renoir, etc. They worked with color and emotion, and have a powerful elegance that are qualities I strive for in my music."
Stylers CDs can be purchased at his website, in many record stores and specialty shops across the United States, and through major online outlets (iTunes, amazon.com, & cdbaby.com). His music can be heard on Pandora, Rhapsody, and Spotify.