Branford Marsalis

Ellis Marsalis Center for Music opens in Musicians' Village

Thursday, August 25, 2011
By Keith Spera
The Times-Picayune

On Wednesday afternoon, Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis kicked the proverbial tires at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, the new, multimillion-dollar arts, educational and community center in the upper 9th Ward’s Musicians’ Village.
Marsalis Center for Music
They jokingly checked under classroom desks for gum. They strode the dance studio’s wood floor. They demonstrated the 1.5-millisecond echo in the 150-capacity, acoustically engineered performance hall.

Had such a facility existed when he was a boy, Connick marveled, “I would have been here every day.”

The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, named for Branford’s father, the storied jazz pianist and educator, officially opens today with a private celebration.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mayor Mitch Landrieu are expected to speak. Connick, the senior Marsalis, and Branford and several of his siblings are slated to perform.
Read more »

Review: Saxophonist Branford Marsalis finds a finger-snapping groove with the Philadelphians

Publication: The Saratogian
Author: Judith White
Date: August 11, 2011

A nearly full moon smiled down on a large, enthusiastic Wednesday night audience for the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Up front was the amazing saxophonist Branford Marsalis, debuting his classical music talents here with the Philadelphians, and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, in a first-time SPAC performance.

I hope you were there: this was a truly original performance, new and different for this venue, and filled with energy and life. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on August 11th, 2011 — 05:32pm

Branford Marsalis and the Philadelphia Orchestra @ SPAC 8/10/11

Publication: TimesUnion.com
Author: Joseph Dalton
Date: August 11, 2011

SARATOGA SPRINGS -  Whose presence — the soloist, the conductor or certain composers — most enlivened Wednesday’s concert of the Philadelphia Orchestra is hard to pinpoint.  But it was nearly impossible to walk out of the amphitheater at the end of the evening without a lively beat or a good tune in your pocket.

The headliner was saxophonist Branford Marsalis.  Better known for his roots in jazz, he performed beautifully in two brief and colorful concertos. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on August 11th, 2011 — 05:48pm

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis joins The Mountaintop

Publication:    Charged.fm
Author: Demetria Mosley
Date: July 14, 2011

The new Broadway play The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L Jackson and Angela Basset, is set to open October 13th.  The anticipation for the show is quickly building due to Broadway.com’s announcement that composer and saxophonist Branford Marsalis is contributing original music to the production.

Branford Marsalis is a Grammy winning musician and has even been nominated for a Tony for the work he did in the play Fences. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on July 27th, 2011 — 09:25am

Branford Marsalis/Joey Calderazzo, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: Offbeat
Author: David Kunian
Date: August 1, 2011

For the past decade, the Branford Marsalis Quartet has been one of the best working jazz bands on the planet. The tightness of that unit is reflected in this duo recording from saxophonist Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo. Songs of Mirth and Melancholy starts with a jaunty blues from Calderazzo’s pen, “One Way,” that has a relaxed, fun feel to it. However, much of the remainder of the record is more contemplative; there are a lot of slow-tempo numbers that allow the listener to appreciate the beauty of the melodies and tones of the instruments. In that way, the album almost seems like an extension of the Quartet’s 2004 record of ballads, Eternal. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on July 27th, 2011 — 09:44am

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo Swing Hard, On and Off the Course

Publication: Huffington Post
Author: Kristi York Wooten
Date: July 12, 2011

This is not a blog about golf — although the two jazz musicians/golf players here in question will tell you their attempts to master the sport require almost as much time and energy as prepping for shows at the world’s top music venues.

Yet, when it comes to saxophonist Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo, golf factors into the story only because they first started dueting publicly at charity tournaments, which eventually led to a much-lauded duo gig at the 2009 Newport Jazz Festival — and now, at long last, a full-length CD: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy. Read more »

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: East Bay Express
Author: Rachel Swan
Date: June 29, 2011

Apparently, the Marsalis-Calderazzo collaboration came about by happenstance — sort of. Calderazzo was already the pianist for Marsalis’ working quartet, and the two decided to perform as a duo at the 2009 Newport Jazz Festival. Sax and piano make an unorthodox combination for sure, but in this case the results were stunning. Marsalisnevermind his pedigree — is such a natural that he can swing without the “trappings” of a traditional rhythm section (to borrow a phrase from San Francisco vocalist Lorin Benedict, who eschews trappings of any sort). Moreover, he’s not strictly a jazz musician. Many of the songs on this mostly original album (save for covers of Brahms’ “Die Trauernde” and Wayne Shorter’s “Face on the Barroom Floor”) sound like baroque or classical music. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 29th, 2011 — 11:23am

New Releases: Branford Marsalis / Joey Calderazzo

Publication: Philadelphia Inquirer
Author: Karl Stark
Date: June 26, 2011

Songs of Mirth and Melancholy
(Marsalis Music ***1/2)

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis has done duet recordings with just his father, pianist Ellis Marsalis, and fellow New Orleans native, crooner Harry Connick Jr. Here the tenor and soprano saxophonist takes up with Joey Calderazzo, the pianist of his quartet since 1998, for a session that is surprisingly sublime.

Marsalis and Calderazzo sound classical in the best jazz sense: handsome melodies creating beauty and lots of free space for interaction. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 27th, 2011 — 03:53pm

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