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Branford Marsalis Quartet: Footsteps of Our Fathers

Mark F. Turner By

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A slightly different perspective on Branford's new stellar work.

No introduction is needed for one of the strongest saxophonists of our time. Branford Marsalis has started his own recording company entitled Marsalis Music with the release of Footsteps of Our Fathers, with compositions selected by jazz greats Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

The music effectively honors and celebrates some of Jazz’s true patriarchs.

Jazz music has always articulated a message throughout our brief history. We listen to the music of pioneers and crusaders with reverence and awe that is still as vibrant as ever. We dissect, criticize and argue that new pioneers are nonexistent or that some visionaries are out of touch with the current populace view. Regardless of the debate, jazz lives on in multifarious forms that spread like branches whose roots are still strong and vibrant. These roots provide nutrients to the young saplings of current jazz musicians who attempt to thrive with new confidence and admiration. This is the essence of the message behind Footsteps of Our Fathers.

Four compositions from the past thrive in the hands of a modern jazz musician.

Giggin’ - Full of life and ‘Bopacity. Swinging and singing with Branford on the soprano sax blowing his heart out. His impeccable band members follow the foray of a timeless groove. Calderazzo delivers a tempered, yet energetic solo on piano. The rhythm section is on fire as “Tain” and Revis propel the groove into the next millennium.

The Freedom Suite - Infectious groove with a vibe that will make one want to dance, swing, and celebrate life. Branford’ s soulful tenor lines flow in and out with ease, and deep purpose. The Revis bass solos are full and robust and show exceptional spirit. “Tain” is one of today’s premier drummers and simply adds fire or finesse to the intricate changes with simply incredible drumming! Branford’s mature and progressive leadership makes this a joy to listen to. A personal favorite.

A Love Supreme - Branford offers his own fervent interpretation of Coltrane’s most heartfelt composition. How do you approach such a sacred anthem one might ask. By ability but most importantly by playing from one’s heart. Branford simply plays with abandon. Total freedom. His fellow musicians faithfully follow suit. It continues to be an abiding thing of admiration when the music transcends to a higher plane. Words simply can not express the dynamics. Just listen.

Concorde – A heartfelt "thank you" from Branford to pianist John Lewis who composed this for the 1955 Modern Jazz Quartet . The composition is a swinging and upbeat jam where all the musicians seem to just flat out have a good time.

One of the year’s best releases.


Track Listing: Giggin'; The Freedom Suite; A Love Supreme; Concorde

Personnel: Branford Marsalis, saxophones; Joey Calderazzo, piano; Eric R3vis, bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums

Title: Footsteps of Our Fathers | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Rounder Records


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