150

Branford Marsalis: Requiem

By

Sign in to view read count
Branford Marsalis: Requiem
Telepathy. Elasticity. Forward looking. Branford Marsalis's new release, "Requiem" makes us glad Steepy brought back the quartet form to his music and makes us even more profoundly sad about the tragic passing of pianist Kenny Kirkland. Although the original plan was to get used to the material, hone it on the road and come back to the studio and re-record, this record shows a band as tight as any unit in the business and shows a great leap forward in Branford Marsalis's composing.

Why does Jeff Tain Watts, the busiest drummer on the planet, who tends to overwhelm in a quartet situation, not ever do that while playing with either Marsalis brother? This band is so in tune with each other that they can react to one another's phrases without falling into hackneyed call and response patterns. This quartet has the notion of modulating meter down pat; playing three over four, five over four, etc... while never loosing the swing. This is a direct continuation of the rhythmic ideas that started to bloom in Wynton's bands in the eighties. A listen to "Blues Alley" or "Black Codes" will sound very much in line with "Requiem," at least from a rhythm section standpoint.

A different type of tempi fluidity is this group's ability to basically play a funk tune ( Bullworth ) in patterns of 7/4, 7/4, 15/8, 7/4, thus keeping it fresh and forward moving. This in an idiom which is pretty much rhythmically static is a fine example of what I am referring to. In Lykyef, we see Branford leading the group in a setting that, while not totally free, is clearly dealing with implied tempi, that is, addressing harmonic meter. In this piece, the meter is dictated by how fast the changes go by. In this cut, the older brother to Wynton brings the group to the boiling point and finishes on a dime. Complete control, yet not placing restrictions on himself or his band. Wynton once said, "Everybody has their one great band." I think brother Steepy has documented his once again. I asked Branford not to long ago about his last quartet recording, "Crazy People Music," and he replied that it was an almost. This is a major vertical move.

So many sounds and elements that come from a non-jazz space get sprinkled throughout this 60-plus minute disc, that it takes a number of listens to deal with. The middle eastern sounding soprano work on Trieste serve as an example.

Finally, the record physically sounds great. Eric Revis, a member of Buqueshot, and a first call New York bassist is up very high in the mix, as opposed to "Crazy People Music," which had Reginald Veal somewhat muddled. Branford's soprano has a very nice balance to it, which allows for his lyricism to shine through. A word must also be said about Columbia's packaging, which places Marsalis's comments about his long-time friend and musical cohort Kirkland. It is a nice added touch to a record that is highlighted from start to finish by the musical conversation between the piano chair and that of the leader which is operating at a serious, serious level.

Track Listing

1. Doctone 2. Trieste 3. Thousand Autumns, A 4. Lykief 5. Bullworth 6. Elysium 7. Cassandra 8. 16th St. Baptist Church

Personnel

Branford Marsalis: saxophone.

Album information

Title: Requiem | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Columbia Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Blessings and Blues
Neil Gonsalves Trio
Socially Distanced Duos
Jeff Pearring/Pearring Sound
Reels
Matthew Shipp / Whit Dickey
Dreamsing
Rachel Musson
Invisible Words
Falkner Evans
Soundscapes
Bob Mintzer & WDR Big Band Cologne
Another Land
Dave Holland

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.