Branford Marsalis Quartet Max Fisher Music Center Detroit, MI October 11, 2013 The Branford Marsalis Quartet is arguably the best small unit working in jazz these days, as proven by the performance of the BMQ in Detroit. This concert was the opening event for the superb jazz series presented by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The emcee for the concert just happened to be renowned trumpeter and (Marsalis home-boy) Terence Blanchard, who unbeknownst to the audience was to be a participant in the evening's show. Marsalis is well known ...read more
Musicians evolve, and so do bands, if they're allowed to stay together long enough to develop their musical relationships--that certain chemistry. Such is the case with Branford Marsalis, the outstanding saxophonist who has been through so much in his storied career. It's also the case with his band, which he has kept together, with few personnel changes, for more than a decade. They are a tight unit that continues to ripen.That band, and its saxophonist, are going as strong as ever. While controversies in jazz music, real or media contrived, materialize and dissipate like weather systems, Marsalis always ...read more
Saxophonist Branford Marsalis has always exhibited a straight-to-the-point attitude in his deeds and musical actions, so the title for his latest quartet date shouldn't come as a great shock. His choice of words matter-of-factly proclaims that this music isn't about highbrow ideals, umbrella themes or hyper-intellectual constructs; this is about four musicians making music and serving the songs. Jazz aficionados know that his albums are almost always a sure bet for brilliance, but fans of this highly regarded unit may come to this record with trepidation since they're still bemoaning the departure of longtime drummer Jeff “Tain" ...read more
The departure of the Branford Marsalis quartet's longtime drummer, Jeff Tain" Watts, left a hole that would not easily be filled and subsequently sparked the excellent 2011 duo release Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Marsalis Music) featuring Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo. But that percussive void has been filled with a transfusion of new blood from the sizzling drums of Justin Faulkner who joined the band in 2009 aged 18. With the attention grabbing title and a fresh outlook, the four musicians have rebounded nicely to deliver some fervent jazz on Four MFs Playin' Tunes. Faulkner's skills ...read more
The Swedish proverb Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow," is one that perfectly exemplifies Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, from saxophonist Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo. Their bond has solidified over time, since Calderazzo took over the piano chair from the late Kenny Kirkland in Marsalis' ensemble in 1998. While Kirkland's talent can never be replaced, Calderazzo has proven his own deep abilities as a vital member of the band--and in his own recordings. Marsalis' voice is commanding in any aspect, whether playing or speaking frankly about the music environment, and continues to ...read more
Branford Marsalis QuartetTerence Blanchard QuintetJazz at Lincoln CenterOctober 1, 2010 Early in their set, after striding on stage in stylish suits, The Branford Marsalis Quartet--pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Justin Faulkner--began peeling off their shirt jackets. The stage lights must have been especially too much for Faulkner, who, within only a few moments of the first tune, was drenched in sweat. Marsalis smiled and seemed to playfully admonish him for removing his garment, but soon his jacket also disappeared, as well as the rest of the bands' in no time. They ...read more
Branford Marsalis has always had contrarian tendencies. From joining Sting's band to quitting The Tonight Show, he's followed his own path, even when his motivations have moved him away from conventional jazz forms. Today, being the artistic director of his own record label (at a time when record labels are floundering) and playing with the same band mates for the last decade (at a time when keeping anything together for 10 years seems unlikely) simply appear to be the next steps in an atypical career. Adding to the Branford Marsalis Quartet's uniqueness is the fact that on ...read more
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