Branford Marsalis Quartet: Eternal (2004)
Senior Contributor since 1997Jim Santella has been contributing CD reviews, concert reviews and DVD reviews to AAJ since 1997. His work has also appeared in Southland Blues, The L.A. Jazz Scene, and Cadence Magazine.
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Branford Marsalis is a deeply romantic artist. His isn't the kind of Pollyanna disposition, where everything seems rosy and bright no matter what others may think. Maybe Jay Leno's viewers had that misconception. No, this Marsalis is a deep thinker who respects his relationships with others enough to consider their intellect while baring his soul. This was evident on Requiem as well as Romare Bearden Revealed , and it holds true for Eternal.
With a trio of his close friends and long-time associates, Marsalis interprets seven lovely ballads with deep passion. They're dark. His soprano saxophone is featured on most of the selections with a high, arching voice that broadcasts its message clearly and with focus. A beautiful tonal quality has always been a part of Marsalis' music, and he maintains that respect for his audience.
A highly recommended album, Eternal strikes a chord with one's heart. Marsalis is warm and unselfish. His message surrounds you with comfortable feelings. On tenor for "Eternal," "Gloomy Sunday" and "Dinner For One Please, James," he's able to connect with the listener on a personal level. The saxophonist delivers warm phrases that overlap and settle in gently. No gimmicks. Just pure heart.
The music issues from a personal perspective. Marsalis says, "All of the songs reflect the idea that there is beauty in sadness." His aim for this album was to affect his audience in the same manner that Billie Holiday did. He has.
Track Listing: The Ruby and the Pearl; Reika's Loss; Gloomy Sunday; The Lonely Swan; Dinner For One Please, James; Muldoon; Eternal.
Personnel: Branford Marsalis- soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; Joey Calderazzo- piano; Eric Revis- bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts- drums.