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MUSICIAN Born:

Branford Marsalis

Growing up in the rich environment of New Orleans as the oldest son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Branford was drawn to music along with siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. His first instrument, the clarinet, gave way to the alto and then the tenor and soprano saxophones when the teenage Branford began working in local bands. A growing fascination with jazz as he entered college gave him the basic tools to obtain his first major jobs, with trumpet legend Clark Terry and alongside Wynton in Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers. When the brothers left to form the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, the world of uncompromising acoustic jazz was invigorated

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

2020: The Year in Jazz

Read "2020: The Year in Jazz" reviewed by Ken Franckling

The COVID-19 pandemic put the jazz world in a tailspin, just like the world at large, in 2020. And there is plenty of uncertainty going into the new year about what “new normal: might emerge from the darkness. International Jazz Day, like so many other things, became an online virtual event this time around. Pianist Keith ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Commanding Singers Gregory Porter and Kurt Elling

Read "Commanding Singers Gregory Porter and Kurt Elling" reviewed by Russell Perry

Kurt Elling has been the dominant male vocalist in jazz for the past 20 years, winning the Down Beat Critics Poll from 2000-2013. Gregory Porter released his first record in 2010 and was recognized in the same poll as a rising star in 2013. He won the critics poll in five of the past seven years, with ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Eric Revis: Slipknots Through a Looking Glass

Read "Slipknots Through a Looking Glass" reviewed by John Sharpe

On Slipknots Through a Looking Glass, bassist Eric Revis helms a five strong unit to experimental ends juxtaposing emotionally ambiguous abstraction with gut punch drive. To cover the bases he unites saxophonists Bill McHenry and Darius Jones from the quartet which waxed In Memory Of Things Yet Seen (Clean Feed, 2014), with the pianist Kris Davis ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Sting: An English (Jazz-)Man In New York - Part 2

Read "Sting: An English (Jazz-)Man In New York - Part 2" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

Although Sting is mostly known for his solo career and, before that, for fronting one of the most epic band of all times, The Police, his love for jazz has been a common thread throughout his career. His jazz sensibility became more prominent when he started his solo career with the album The Dream of the ...

ARTICLE: TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with Denin Koch

Read "Take Five with Denin Koch" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Meet Denin Koch Hailed as possessing “pristine playing, meticulous composing" and “a very personal voice deserving of attention," guitarist and composer Denin Koch has synthesized his wide and varied influences into a unique approach to jazz improvisation. He has performed with Arturo Sandoval, Pat Metheny, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Dee Daniels, Ryan Keberle, and ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

The Genius of Kenny Kirkland - the Companion Mixtape

Read "The Genius of Kenny Kirkland - the Companion Mixtape" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

Compiling a radio playlist is both incredibly satisfying and quite frustrating. Two hours are so quick to fill and one has to often leave out a great number of tracks that would deserve attention but, for a reason or another (length, similarities to other selection, need for variety and flow etc.), don't find a natural spot ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

The Genius of Kenny Kirkland - Part 1

Read "The Genius of Kenny Kirkland - Part 1" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

On September 28th, Kenny Kirkland would have turned 65. This week we celebrate his legacy as leader or co-leader, as side-man invited to add power and sophistication to the bands he joined, and as composer, through renditions of his music by peers and contemporary musicians. Among these, pianist Noah Haidu has recently released the first-ever album ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Two From The Pyroclastic Label: Cory Smythe & Eric Revis

Read "Two From The Pyroclastic Label: Cory Smythe & Eric Revis" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The Pyroclastic label run by pianist Kris Davis received a lot of attention last year due to the critical acclaim given Davis' own album on the label, Diatom Ribbons. It has kept going this year, continuing to present challenging projects by forward thinking musicians. Here are a couple of them. Cory Smythe

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Noah Haidu: Doctone

Read "Doctone" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Kenny Kirkland never seemed particularly interested in attaining the high level of fame enjoyed by two of his early employers, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and saxophonist Branford Marsalis. He worked first for Wynton, playing on four of the trumpeter's albums between 1981 and 1985, before moving into Branford's orbit, for eight albums between 1983 to 1998. ...


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