228

Branford Marsalis: Contemporary Jazz

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Branford Marsalis: Contemporary Jazz Although the penultimate release from Branford Marsalis was entitled Requiem, this outing for sure embodies a fitting tribute to Kenny Kirkland. The pianist died mid-recording of Branford’s last disc, shocking the young saxophonist and causing him to find a new rhythm section leader. Well actually Tain Watts is the center of any rhythm scene wherever he plays. Calderazzo fills the Kirkland role in a sort of meddling way. While and accomplished pianist on his own, Calderazzo doesn’t fit nicely into Branford’s jazz vision. His piano seems to agitate and disturb the tenor. Marsalis is a talented trio saxophonist, in that I mean he can carry the melody and his improvisation without the need of a piano, as evidenced on his recordings Trio Jeepy (1988), Bloomington (1991), and The Dark Keys (1996). Most of the tracks here work best when either Marsalis or Calderazzo listen to the other play in trio format.

The highlight of the record is Marsalis’ remake of Irving Berlin’s “Cheek To Cheek.” Playing havoc with time signatures, Branford and Watts reshuffle the familiar to create the infinite in terms of permutations of the song. His reworking a song, be it an original or his own “Elysium” (originally on Requim ), is Branford’s strongest suit. After Marsalis opens “Cheek,” Calderazzo follows in the deconstruct mode, chasing the melody up and down the keyboards. While the songs are not just soloing devices, the solos here are significant. Watt’s opens “Tain Mutiny” with his patented thunder attack before Marsalis spits a horn line and the wrestling match continues. And, like the WWF, all the mayhem is choreographed. You just got to love Tain’s pulse over Branford’s best Coltrane blowing. The set closes with the Gospel tinged “Countronious Rex,” named for the drummer’s country roots. The Pittsburgh-born Watts (the Steeler’s country?, well maybe Terry Bradshaw) wrote the hand-clapping soul station blues it seems to act as an old fashion revival. Reminds me of Cannonball Adderley and his feel for a great song.


Track Listing: In The Crease; Requiem; Elysium; Cheek To Cheek; Tain Mutiny; Ayanna; Countronious.

Personnel: Branford Marsalis

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Columbia Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Gurutopia" CD/LP/Track Review Gurutopia
by James Nadal
Published: March 22, 2016
Read "Intermetallic Compounds" CD/LP/Track Review Intermetallic Compounds
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 18, 2016
Read "Crystal Moth" CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Moth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Routes" CD/LP/Track Review Routes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Andrew Luhn
Published: March 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!