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ALBUM REVIEWS

The Branford Marsalis Quartet: The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul

Read "The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

It was back in 2012 when the last quartet-only recording Four MFs Playin' Tunes (Marsalis Music) was released. So give more room on the floor to the evil toys dancing their pants off to the pure, wild, free-styling surge of “Dance of the Evil Toys," the killer, lead-off track to the Branford Marsalis Quartet's first full release in seven years, The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul. After touring with Sting, and in support of {[Kurt Elling}} ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Branford Marsalis Quartet: The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul

Read "The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul" reviewed by Doug Collette

Anyone who's seen the Branford Marsalis Quartet in concert is well aware of what high-flying improvisations the group can embark upon. But the foursome's abandoned approach hardly precludes due emphasis on structure---how better to highlight it than leave it behind?--which is also why this band makes studio albums as trenchant as The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul. Yet the irony in this duality is that strong material is the foundation for concise, purposeful musicianship, whether within ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Branford Marsalis Quartet at Jazz Standard

Read "The Branford Marsalis Quartet at Jazz Standard" reviewed by Peter Jurew

Branford Marsalis Quartet Jazz Standard New York, NY February 20, 2019 The Branford Marsalis Quartet came into jny: New York's Jazz Standard in late February to showcase The Secret Between The Shadow And The Soul, their first new album release in seven years and, in marking the special occasion, to blow the roof off that primetime jazz basement. That it has been seven years since the band's last new release does not ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Branford Marsalis and Jean-Willy Kunz at the Kimmel Center

Read "Branford Marsalis and Jean-Willy Kunz at the Kimmel Center" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Branford Marsalis, Saxophone, and Jean-Willy Kunz, Organ: From Classical to Jazz Kimmel Center for Performing Arts Philadelphia, PA February 16, 2018 This concert of mostly classical works for saxophone and large scale pipe organ turned out to be somewhat of a surprise to the audience of jazz fans, who packed in to hear their hero, Branford Marsalis. The concert emcee, Michael Barone (a radio producer who also hosts a program called ...

IN PICTURES

Skip Norris Memorial Concert

Read "Skip Norris Memorial Concert" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

The old saying goes that we all die twice; once when we take our last breath and then a second time when our name isn't spoken anymore. It is highly unlikely that the name of Wesley “Skip" Norris will vanish from the tongues of jazz devotees anytime soon. Especially not after the memorable and extraordinary sendoff that took place last Friday evening in Detroit. An advocate for jazz in so many ways throughout the past decades, Norris fostered a strong ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Branford Marsalis Quartet with Special Guest Kurt Elling: Upward Spiral

Read "Upward Spiral" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

To one extent or another, jazz has always maintained a discriminatory dividing line between vocalists and instrumentalists. Instead of being viewed as equals--artists on par with all the rest, possessing the same good sense, skill, and stake in an artistic outcome--vocalists have often been unfairly stigmatized and interned in a separate category. But all of that has slowly been changing, due in no small part to a large and continually growing crop of vocalists who are consistently raising the bar. ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Paris Jazz Diary 2015: Saxophonists Branford Marsalis, Azar Lawrence

Read "Paris Jazz Diary 2015: Saxophonists Branford Marsalis, Azar Lawrence" reviewed by Patricia Myers

Paris Jazz Diary 2015: Saxophonists Branford Marsalis, Azar Lawrence New Morning, Sunside jazz clubs Paris, France July 21-22, 2015 Back-to-back jazz nights featured dynamic saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Azar Lawrence performing in two of the top music clubs of Paris, both leading quartets. Marsalis was on the big stage in the 200-seat New Morning and Lawrence played in the more intimate Sunside jazz club. Both delivered with fire and ferocity, playing tenor and soprano saxophones ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Branford Marsalis and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia at Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts

Read "Branford Marsalis and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia at Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts" reviewed by Patricia Myers

Branford Marsalis and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Scottsdale, Arizona October 19, 2014 Saxophonist Branford Marsalis demonstrated his consummate versatility during a concert with the Chamber Orchestra of jny: Philadelphia as part of that ensemble's 50th anniversary national concert tour, the jazz-pop star having segued into classical performances four years ago with the New York Philharmonic. “Marsalis: Well-Tempered" was the concert theme, using a term applied to the ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Branford Marsalis Quartet at Max Fisher Music Center

Read "Branford Marsalis Quartet at Max Fisher Music Center" reviewed by Steve Bryant

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 ...

INTERVIEWS

Branford Marsalis: Confident MF Playin’ Tunes

Read "Branford Marsalis: Confident MF Playin’ Tunes" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Branford Marsalis Quartet: Four MFs Playin' Tunes

Read "Four MFs Playin' Tunes" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Branford Marsalis Quartet: Four MFs Playin' Tunes

Read "Four MFs Playin' Tunes" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

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 ...