Branford Marsalis

CD Choice: Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo – Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Marsalis Music)

Publication: Church of England Newspaper
Author: Derek Walker
Date: June 24, 2011

Metamorphosis, the latest release by Branford Marsalis’s quartet, featured tunes written by each of the players, and for me the best were penned by pianist Joey Calderazzo. They brought a breezy, timeless approach to jazz that made listening a pleasure.

This set, made only with bandleader and saxophonist Marsalis, is free of the tight constraints of the rhythm section, and so exudes a fluid ease that suits these largely lyrical pieces.

While the two were already a well-lubricated engine, a short set at the Newport Jazz Festival inspired them to spend a few days capturing this dynamic in the studio.
Read more »

Songs of Mirth and Melancholy: Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo

Publication: News & Observer
Author: Owen Cordle
Date: June 26, 2011

Durham resident Branford Marsalis is clearly enraptured by his soprano saxophone tone. And why not?
On pianist Joey Calderazzo’s “La Valse Kendall,” the third tune on their “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy,” it’s as if Marsalis has resurrected Sidney Bechet, the early New Orleans soprano saxophonist and clarinetist known for his lavishly expressive, flowery playing. The piece sounds classical, as do several others (Brahms’ “Die Trauernde” is included). But this should not deter jazz fans from digging this album, especially its generous melodicism and tonal bliss (which also applies to Marsalis’ tenor saxophone and Calderazzo’s piano). Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 27th, 2011 — 03:57pm

‘Mirth and Melancholy’ from Branford Marsalis

Publication: IndyStar.com
Author: Jay Harvey
Date: June 20, 2011

You can’t find any more thoughtful jazz musician than Branford Marsalis. He’s also a master of tone and nuance whenever he picks up the soprano or tenor saxophone. With  Joey Calderazzo, his longtime collaborator on piano (a relationship as fruitful as Marsalis had with cut-off-in-his-prime Kenny Kirkland), he has released “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy” (Marsalis Music).
There are portions of this exploration of deep melody between the two players that stray  into a kind of highbrow easy listening. But mostly the music rewards sustained attention, in a hopefully alpha-wave mode — hard to get into, but an inevitable drag to leave.

  

Submitted by Courtney on June 23rd, 2011 — 04:23pm

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: The Boston Globe
Author: Bill Beuttler
Date: June 21, 2011

“Songs of Mirth and Melancholy,’’ the excellent new duo album from saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his longtime pianist Joey Calderazzo, leans more melancholic than mirthful. There is an emphasis on melody, too. A composer giant apiece from the jazz and classical genres is represented, via Wayne Shorter’s “Face on the Barroom Floor’’ and Brahms’s “Die Trauernde,’’ and the performers’ own compositions have a classical-sounding stateliness to them as well, and a relative scarcity of blue notes aside from Calderazzo’s jazzier “One Way’’ and the closing bars of Marsalis’s “Endymion.’’ Those two and Calderazzo’s “Bri’s Dance’’ are as up-tempo and mirthful as the album gets, with Marsalis’s pyrotechnics and tone on “Endymion’’ both calling to mind tenor colossus Sonny Rollins. For the most part, though, the musicians deemphasize playing lots of notes in their pursuit of meaningful melody and sweet melancholy. A couple of standouts in that vein are Marsalis’s “The Bard Lachrymose’’ and Calderazzo’s “La Valse Kendall,’’ both of which (like most of the album) Marsalis performs on soprano. (Out now) Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 23rd, 2011 — 04:02pm

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: PopMatters
Author: Will Layman
Date: June 14, 2011

Branford is the fun Marsalis, the Marsalis who played with Sting and the Grateful Dead, the funny Marsalis who fooled around with a movie career (Throw Momma From the Train) and who was the bandleader and sidekick when Jay Leno first took over the Tonight Show way back.

But that can be deceptive. Branford, in many ways, has been just as “serious” about music as his polemical brother Wynton. Particularly when it comes to playing passionately straight-ahead jazz, Branford has been more hard-nosed. His quartet has been a long-standing institution that rarely indulges in themed records or gimmicks. Mostly, Branford has insisted on charging post-bop and aching classic ballads, drawing on the tradition of Rollins, Coltrane and Byas. Branford’s quartet has been an ain’t-no-foolin’-around outfit.

Since the pianist Kenny Kirkland passed away in 1998, the piano chair in Branford’s quartet has been decisively owned by Joey Calderazzo. Read more »

Branford Marsalis/JoeyCalderazzo – Songs Of Mirth And Melancholy – Marsalis Music

Publication: Audiophile Audition
Author: Robbie Gerson
Date: June 13, 2011

  ****½:
(Branford Marsalis – saxophone; Joey Calderazzo – piano)

When Kenny Kirkland passed away in 1998, the future of The Branford Marsalis Quartet was in question. However, pianist Joey Calderazzo proved to be an ideal replacement. Marsalis (under his own label) had been performing and introducing new artists to an ever-expanding jazz milieu. Hailing from a legendary New Orleans musical family, he garnered acclaim as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the Wynton Marsalis quintet. Subsequently, he formed his own group, but was in demand as a session player (Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Sting and Miles Davis). Additionally, he performed as a soloist for assorted symphonies and orchestras. This duality of classical music and jazz has produced a unique pursuit of artistic expression. In the family tradition, Marsalis has been involved in numerous collegiate workshops and instruction.

When Marsalis and Calderozzo decided to record as a duet, they wanted have a departure from the typical jazz collaboration. Songs Of Mirth And Melancholy does exactly that. Read more »

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: JazzTimes
Author: Jeff Tamarkin
Date: June 7, 2011

Sometimes an album’s title tells you everything you need to know. Songs of Mirth and Melancholy is truth in advertising, a concise, pinpoint description of what this recording offers. But the title alone doesn’t go far enough in conveying the level of elegance and intimacy resident within this collaboration between saxophonist Branford Marsalis and the pianist in his regular quartet, Joey Calderazzo. Since his induction into the band in 1998, when he replaced the late Kenny Kirkland, Calderazzo has consistently developed, his acumen as a player and the maturity of his songwriting adding significantly to the quartet’s breadth. Calderazzo has also released several albums as a leader that reaffirm his ingenuity. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 7th, 2011 — 01:56pm

CD reviews: 'Mirth and Melancholy' shows more about Marsalis' abilities

Publication: Pittsburgh Tribune
Date: June 5, 2011
Author: Bob Karlovits

Branford Marsalis is clearly the most engaging member of his musically wealthy family. Whether on his collection of classics “Romances for Saxophone,” as a guest with Sting or on this duet album, “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy,” Marsalis always is finding new truths about his instrument. This disc with pianist Joey Calderazzo is a collection of seven originals from one or the other, one piece by Wayne Shorter and one by Johannes Brahms. The are played in a virtuosic way with respect to the music and to each other. The album has variety that ranges from a uptempo “One Way” by Calderazzo to his classically flavored “Hope” and Marsalis’ “The Bard Lachrymose,” which has the same formal nature. This is one not to pass up. It is available Tuesday.

Submitted by Courtney on June 6th, 2011 — 01:36pm

Songs of Mirth and Melancholy Review

Publication: All Music
Date: June 5, 2011
Author: Thom Jurek

Given the history that saxophonist Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo have, the end results of Songs of Mirth and Melancholy should not be surprising, yet they are. Calderazzo replaced the late Kenny Kirkland in Marsalis’ band in 1998 and the rapport between them is seamlessly intuitive as revealed here. Cut in three days in Durham, North Carolina, the set contains compositions by both men, as well as a surprising pair of covers. As the title implies, this is a study in mood contrasts, and it begins on an up note with Calderazzo’s rollicking “One Way.” Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 6th, 2011 — 01:11pm

CD: Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo – Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: The Arts Desk
Date: June 2, 2011
Author: Peter Quinn

It may have taken just three days to record, but this new duo recording from sax player Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo has 13 years of music-making behind it, dating back to when Calderazzo replaced the late, great Kenny Kirkland in the Branford Marsalis Quartet in 1998. We’ve come to expect a superabundance of imagination from both these players, but in Songs of Mirth and Melancholy Marsalis and Calderazzo seem to tap into even deeper levels of musical empathy and intuition. Read more »