Ellis & Branford Marsalis
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On Loved Ones, a set of music on which each of the 14 selections include a woman's name in its title, Ellis Marsalis takes five piano solos and has nine duets with his son Branford Marsalis. With the exception of a brief cooking rendition of "Liza," all of the performances are taken at a relaxed and sometimes quite slow tempo. Ellis Marsalis mostly lets the melodies breathe, infusing them with his own personality (the reworking of "Stella by Starlight" is quite intriguing) and often giving the songs somber interpretations. One wishes that there was more variations in tempos and moods. Branford Marsalis' appearances on soprano and tenor are always an asset, sometimes livening up the selections although mostly playing a subsidiary role to his father. The overall results are pleasing and thoughtful if not quite essential.
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