Publication: Times Union Arts Talk Blog
Author: Michael Eck
Date: February 4, 2012
There was some big listening going on at Proctors Friday night, onstage and off.
Naturally, the audience, which had paid its money, had its ears on, but saxophonist Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo had their giant ears on.
In the opening number of the duo’s opening set, Marsalis pushed his soprano against Calderazzo’s clouds of sound. The shape of the melody recalled Jewish themes. The harmony, spare and open, came from the American south. And the result sounded like heaven.
Marsalis and his longtime cohort released a duo album last year, and they culled tunes like the above, “La Valse Kendall,” and “The Bard Lachrymose” from that disc.
On the second number (“One Way”) Marsalis unleashed his robust tenor tone, and he continued to bounce back and forth between the two horns throughout the evening.
The gentlemen broke after 40 minutes and then brought out the full Marsalis Quartet for a 70-minute set that was often stunning, sometimes mesmerizing and always real.
Instantly the rhythm section was cracking, with bassist Eric Revis and drummer Jason Faulker working overtime behind Calderazzo’s now pumping piano. But this is a band that understands dynamics and together they rode the swells, heartbeats and car crashes that make up a great night of jazz. Marsalis’ sweet soprano release, for example, at the end of Revis’ “Maestra” was a breath of surrender. Wow. Read more »