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Contemporary Jazz

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Album Review

This album was much anticipated, for it would be Branford Marsalis's first since the death of his longtime pianist Kenny Kirkland. Happily, it is a knockout. While no one can entirely recreate the famed chemistry that existed between Kirkland and Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo does a marvelous job handling the extraordinary complexity, energy, and beauty of Marsalis's music. Bassist Eric Revis and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, both of whom played on 1999's Requiem (which wound up being the last recording of Kirkland's life), carry on here in the spirit of their departed friend, fleshing out Marsalis's increasingly challenging ensemble concepts and — most importantly — swinging like men possessed."In the Crease" and "Tain Mutiny," with their unpredictable twists and turns, are indicative of the gravitas of Marsalis's work ever since he left his post at The Tonight Show. But the album's high point is a lengthy take of "Elysium," a tune that appeared on Requiem as a trio piece, an aesthetic choice necessitated by the sudden death of Kirkland who never had a chance to play on the track. Here the full quartet weighs in, deftly executing a dizzying series of tempo shifts and subtle cues, all seamlessly worked into a fabric of extended, burning improvisation. Finally, "Sleepy Hollow," a slow blues tucked away at the end of the program as a hidden track, sounds as though the band just let the tape roll as they warmed down from the session. It's a delightfully unrehearsed moment, perhaps a closing homage to Kirkland, drawn from deep down in the tradition. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi


Born: August 26, 1960 in Breaux Bridge, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The oldest of the four musical Marsalis brothers, Branford Marsalis has had an impressive career. After studying at Southern University and Berklee, Branford toured Europe with the Art Blakey big band in the summer of 1980 (playing baritone), played three months with Clark Terry, and then spent five months playing alto with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1981). He mostly played tenor and soprano while with Wynton Marsalis' influential group (1982-1985), at first sounding most influenced by Wayne Shorter...
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Top Albums and Songs by Branford Marsalis

Contemporary Jazz, Branford Marsalis
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Rock
  • Released: Aug 08, 2000

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