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Album Review

Eternal finds saxophonist Branford Marsalis in a contemplative mood performing a mix of original and standard ballads with his usual quartet of pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. The title track, written for his wife Nicole, is a hushed and cerebral affair, but never feels anything but warm. Similarly, the lead-off track, "The Ruby and the Pearl," contains the faint blush of Ellington-ian exoticism and "Gloomy Sunday" brings to mind the rumbling and atmospheric late-'60s work of longtime Marsalis touchstone John Coltrane. The album, his second solo outing for his Marsalis Music label, is dedicated in memory to a list of people one can only assume were as influential musically on Marsalis as emotionally. Among them are bassist Malachi Favors, drummer Elvin Jones, saxophonist Steve Lacy, and the one and only Ray Charles. Their spirits are palpable here as Marsalis and his band have clearly documented a handful of quietly beautiful and deeply moving performances.

Customer Reviews


I have to agree with the only other reviewer. This album is one of the great jazz albums of all time. The unfortunate reality is that few individuals have the patience to listen to it beginning to end and realize the greatness. I've never listened to an album nearer to perfection than this, with every note appropriately placed. Carve out 60 minutes and discover what you've been missing.

Kind of Branford

This album should have the same "staying power" as Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.... A collection of beautifully crafted ballads. The title track is arguably the ballad version of "A Love Supreme" in it's own way... There are moments of sheer ecstacy recorded therein... One such moment is 11:34 - 12:40... I've never heard any other band capture that kind of rapture and bliss and musicianship... Eternal (the song) is a complete work of art. The entire CD a masterpiece...

Branford's finest hour

This album is simply astonishing. Right after "Kind of Blue" on my all-time, desert-island, top-five jazz recordings. It's that good. Takes me somewhere new every time I spin it, and it's been in heavy rotation ever since I discovered it. The playing, the compositions, and the recording quality are all absolutely stellar. It's mood music, sure, but it just refuses to stay in the background. Pure brilliance. Turn down the lights, pour some wine, put this on, and try not to be transported. I dare you.


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...
Full Bio
Eternal, Branford Marsalis Quartet
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 14, 2004

Customer Ratings