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Jazz - Released April 10, 2015 | Okeh

Distinctions Sélection JAZZ NEWS - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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Jazz - Released March 1, 2019 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Jazzwise Five-star review
Last century, in the mid-eighties to be precise, Branford Marsalis and his brother Wynton were at the forefront of a new wave of post-bebop virtuosos. Dressed in Armani suits, their music was hugely successful. Some of the top performers in the jazz world criticised these youngsters for their approach, viewing it as regressive, backward-looking and even conservative. Back then, Wynton was the more orthodox player while Branford was the “cool guy”, largely thanks to Buckshot LeFonque, his 1994 project that mixed jazz, rap and R&B, and his work with DJ Premier from Gang Starr... Since then, this Battle of Hernani has been long forgotten and each of the Marsalis brothers has been left to develop their musical style in peace. Branford has even dared to be... daring! In 2014, for instance, he performed solo in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, playing compositions by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Steve Lacy. Two years later, he collaborated with the singer Kurt Elling on the album Upward Spiral. And here on this record, we find those same artists who supported him in 2016: pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner. The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul reveals a 58-year-old musician who’s completely free. An artist who plays for himself and those who accompany him. No matter the style or the mood... Rarely has Branford's playing seemed so inspired, so adventurous, so... beautiful? Throughout the hard bop themes (Snake Hips Waltz by Andrew Hill), the atypical compositions (The Windup by Keith Jarrett) and his own compositions, he releases improvisations that are as breathtaking as they are accurate, with phrases that illustrate his lifelong commitment to music. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Film Soundtracks - Released December 18, 2020 | Milan

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Jazz - Released June 8, 1989 | Columbia

Branford Marsalis clearly had a lot of fun during this set. On seven of the ten numbers included on the double LP (the CD reissue actually has one less selection), Marsalis romps on tenor and soprano in a trio with veteran bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts; the remaining three numbers have Delbert Felix in Hinton's place. The performances are quite spontaneous (the occasional mistakes were purposely left in) and Marsalis really romps on such tunes as "Three Little Words," "Makin' Whoopee," and "Doxy." On the joyful outing that is also one of Branford Marsalis' most accessible recordings, Milt Hinton often steals the show. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Classical - Released July 26, 1991 | Columbia

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Jazz - Released September 14, 2004 | Marsalis Music

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. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 27, 1992 | Columbia

Branford Marsalis plays the blues on this interesting if erratic CD. Among his many guests are B.B. King (although surprisingly, there is no interaction between Marsalis and King), John Lee Hooker, Russell Malone, Linda Hopkins (who comes across very well), Joe Louis Walker and brothers Wynton and Delfeayo Marsalis. Ranging from hints of field hollers and New Orleans to country blues, a vignette ("Brother Trying to Catch a Cab (On the East Side) Blues") and a few more conventional burnouts, this is an intriguing set that is worth picking up. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Concertos - Released September 27, 2019 | Signum Records

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Jazz - Released February 28, 1999 | Columbia

Branford Marsalis' longtime pianist Kenny Kirkland died two months after the sessions for this album began -- hence the title -- and after a futile attempt to finish the recording in December 1998, Branford decided to leave the music as is, first takes and all. If there are any serious flaws in the playing, they will escape the vast majority of ears out there, for this is an uncompromising, well-played disc of acoustic jazz that leans a bit toward adventure at times. At first, Branford's foursome (Kirkland, Eric Revis on bass, and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums) seems content to turn out a pretty good facsimile of the John Coltrane Quartet, with Kirkland playing brilliantly and reflectively in the McCoy Tyner manner. But with "Lykief" -- a pun on Keith Jarrett's name -- Branford takes up Jarrett's long unanswered challenge and pushes through a tumbling, nearly rhythmically free piece attractively anchored by Jarrett's gospel harmonies and melodic methods. "Bullworth" blasts off on a Watts hip-hop rhythm, with Branford going nuts in an angular bit of soloing, and "16th St. Baptist Church" apparently sends the CD home on a funky New Orleans street march, only to be followed by a touching, uncredited Marsalis/Kirkland benediction. Once again, the post-Tonight Show, post-Buckshot Marsalis makes a credibly serious jazz statement in what turned out to be the swan song for one of the neo-bop era's finest lineups. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 24, 1987 | Columbia

The high point of Branford Marsalis' third Columbia release as a leader is a 15-minute version of Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" played in a trio with pianist Herbie Hancock and bassist Buster Williams. The remainder of the program matches Marsalis with pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Bob Hurst, and drummer Tony Williams on a pair of standards ("Just One of Those Things" and a live version of "St. Thomas"), J.J. Johnson's "Lament," and originals by Marsalis and Williams. Although he did not have an immediately recognizable sound on tenor and soprano at this point, it was obvious from nearly the start that Branford Marsalis would have a very significant career. This is one of his better early efforts. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 20, 2014 | Okeh

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Jazz - Released June 15, 2000 | Columbia

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Jazz - Released March 17, 2009 | Marsalis Music

As on his recording Requiem, dedicated to his longtime friend and pianist Kenny Kirkland, Branford Marsalis dedicates this recording to his mentors, friends, and jazz icons who had passed away prior to its recording. The CD varies between his tenor or alto saxophone celebratory-led post and neo-bop compositions, or the somber, reflective slower songs featuring the soprano sax of Marsalis. This exceptional band, together for ten years, with drummer Jeff Watts, bassist Eric Revis, and pianist Joey Calderazzo, communicate with utter confidence and the mastery of expert professional musicians who need few verbal or charted cues to spring forth into action. Thelonious Monk's influence is recognizable on the jagged edged, quirky Watts composition "The Return of the Jitney Man," the straight, no-frills hard bop chaser "Jabberwocky" where Marsalis borrows a page from the book of Charlie Rouse, a take of "Rhythm-A-Ning" moves from straight-ahead to staggering funk, with most of the intact original line phrase, while "Sphere," composed by Revis, is an original angular adaptation of Monk's style without much paraphrasing . A tribute to the actor, "Abe Vigoda" is a crusty and dusty ballad, "The Blossom of Parting" a reverent, sad song for the departed, and "The Last Goodbye" a similarly themed ballad, all with Marsalis on the soprano. Perhaps the most original piece is "And Then He Was Gone/Samo," featuring an extended solo from Revis, intentionally messy and frustrated, followed by the finale, a funky 7/8 soul and spirit song. A fine, emotional and heartfelt effort from Marsalis, one of his best since Requiem, it faithfully pays tribute to those late heroes like Alvin Batiste, Michael Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, Dewey Redman, Max Roach, Willie Turbinton, et. al., while also staying true to himself. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 26, 1991 | Columbia

This set is one of Branford Marsalis' strongest of the 1990s. Marsalis really stretches out on eight numbers including six of his originals (the other two songs are by bassist Bob Hurst). There is one guest appearance apiece from brother-trumpeter Wynton and tenor saxophonist Courtney Pine but otherwise Branford is accompanied only by Hurst and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. His playing is often reminiscent in style (but not really sound) of John Coltrane, he is more concise and disciplined than in some of his early-'90s concert appearances and Marsalis is at his most explorative on this inventive blowing session. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Classical - Released April 2, 2008 | Sony Classical

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Jazz - Released June 23, 1988 | Columbia

Branford Marsalis (on tenor and soprano) and his 1987 quartet (which also includes pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Delbert Felix and drummer Lewis Nash) stretch out on a wide repertoire during this generally fascinating set. Very much a chameleon for the date, Marsalis does close impressions of Wayne Shorter on "Yes and No," John Coltrane ("Crescent City"), Ben Webster (a warm version of "I Thought About You"), Ornette Coleman ("Broadway Falls") and even Jan Garbarek (on a long rendition of Coleman's "Lonely Woman"). Random Abstract also includes a jam on Kirkland's "LonJellis," a piece without chord changes. This is one of Branford Marsalis' most interesting (and somewhat unusual) recordings. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released December 2, 1986 | Columbia

Branford Marsalis' second album as a leader followed his first by three years, and he had grown a lot in the interim. He had switched permanently to tenor (doubling on soprano), left his brother Wynton's group, toured with Sting, and begun heading his own group. Although using quartets on each of the seven selections, Marsalis varies the personnel quite a bit, utilizing pianists Ellis Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Larry Willis, and Herbie Hancock; bassists Ron Carter, Charnett Moffett, and Ira Coleman; and drummers Ralph Peterson, Al Foster, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, and Jeff Watts. One of Branford's more playful albums, the repertoire includes a tribute of sorts to his native New Orleans on "Royal Garden Blues" plus "Strike Up the Band" and then-recent originals. An excellent outing. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 7, 2012 | Marsalis Music

There was no doubt that when Jeff "Tain" Watts left the Branford Marsalis Quartet in 2009, they would take some time to regroup. They recruited then 18-year-old drummer Justin Faulkner, confusing many fans. But Marsalis knew what he was doing. Faulkner makes his BMQ debut on the no-nonsense Four MFs Playin' Tunes. The program features seven originals and two covers, recorded over a couple of days in 2011. There isn't any conceptual bent to what's here; the definition is in the humorous title -- four jazzmen investing themselves fully in a set of diverse compositions, focusing on the details of collective conversation, interplay, harmony, and improvisation. Faulkner has a fine balance of skills: he's physical, he possesses a forcefulness that drives this group, but he can also dance with real finesse. Joey Calderazzo's sprightly "The Mighty Sword," which has a slightly tropical Latin tinge, features excellent dialogue between Marsalis' soprano and the pianist in the high register. Faulkner pushes from the outside with frenetic snare, cymbal, and tom-tom work as bassist Eric Revis swings like mad underneath. Another highlight is the bassist's nearly mystical ballad "Maestra," which moves from speculative to an outright flow of elegance and emotion without ever losing its restraint. The cover of Monk's "Teo" is more about rhythmic dialogue than anything else. There is little harmonic revelation here, but the joy the group displays in playing its changes and the slippery series of extra and syncopated beats Faulkner slides in make it delightful. Marsalis' "Whiplash" is exactly what it claims to be: a driving, knotty hard bop tune with excellent tenor, piano, and drum solos. There's also a longer reprise of Calderazzo's "Endymion" from his and Marsalis' 2011 duet album, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy. With labyrinthine lyric exchanges by the pianist and Marsalis' tenor, the rhythm section -- in a dazzling intricate display of its own -- moves it beyond its classical leanings and into more adventurous terrain. Revis' bass here is so illustrative that Calderazzo could have gone off in any direction from the wide-angled melody. The saxophonist's "Treat It Gentle" is given gorgeous, straight-ahead blues ballad treatment with tasteful, lightly swinging solos; it stretches to over nine minutes. Four MFs Playin' Tunes is a solid return by the BMQ. Rather than offer anything new, they instead focus on re-introducing the band as a creative unit whose capacity for musical excellence is undiminished. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Classical - Released August 7, 1994 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released December 11, 2000 | Sony Classical

Branford Marsalis' second classical album -- released a yawning 15 years after his first -- is a far more successful project than its predecessor, dwelling entirely within the world of French music of the 20th century. Thankfully, Marsalis doesn't have to rely too heavily upon transcriptions this time, choosing interesting, stimulating, often jazz-influenced works with a genuine saxophone part, and he has the expert backing of New York City's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, who doesn't use a conductor and doesn't need one. For Marsalis' fans, this album is also a rare opportunity to hear him on alto saxophone, along with soprano, and like his brother, Wynton, Branford Marsalis plays entirely and knowingly within the classical style, with one pardonable exception noted below. The CD begins deceptively with some Ronnie Bauch transcriptions of pastoral standard stuff by Satie, Debussy, and Ravel, but then veers into the authentically orchestrated strains of Milhaud's juxtapositions of melancholy and whoop-de-do hijinks, "La Creation Du Monde," which has a prominent part for alto saxophone. It's a fine rendition, too, well-paced, very polished and urbane, yet sufficiently raucous -- if not ideally swinging -- in the jazzy stretches. Listeners also get Milhaud's own version of the flippant "Scaramouche Suite" for alto saxophone and orchestra, which receives a performance filled with refinement and sass, and Ibert's delightful, neo-classical "Concertino Da Camera for Alto Saxophone" and "Orchestra," where Marsalis improvises his own cadenza with some of the post-bop fire that he displays in jazz. Sprinkled around the big works by Milhaud and Ibert are four excerpts from Milhaud's "Saudades do Brasil," performed by Orpheus with a detailed awareness of the music's swaying polytonal intricacies. A winner from Marsalis, sumptuously recorded and proof that good things can come from those who wait. © TiVo

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