four mfs playin' tunes

'An Evening with Branford Marsalis’ at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts

Publication: DC Metro Theater Arts
Author: Marlene Hall
Date: April 13, 2014

Seeing one of Jazz’ masters like Branford Marsalis perform is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I had the honor of watching jazz great Marsalis at George Mason Performing Arts Center Saturday night. Marsalis and his quartet played mostly songs from their new album Four MFs Playin’ Tunes.

Marsalis is a renowned saxophonist and composer. Marsalis is a three time Grammy winner, a 2010 Tony nominee and 2010 Drama Desk Award winner for the music for the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences. He has released more than 20 recordings, including his most recent, 2012’s Four MFs Playin’ Tunes.

I overheard an audience member comment how Marsalis has incredible breath control and my professional musician friend, said, “His sound is pure.” We got to watch and hear a genius play that night.

The musicians were: Joey Calderazzo on piano; Eric Revis on bass; Justin Faulkner on drums, and Mr. Marsalis on saxophone. Calderazzo was seated on the left and had his back to the audience, so we could see his fancy finger work. Marsalis was front and center and the bass player behind him. On the right was drummer Faulkner, who shared the spotlight with all the musicians. It was nice to see he wasn’t hidden in the back like many drummers I have seen in other concerts. Read more »

Reviews: Marsalis and Vandermark unleash storms of sound

Chicago Tribune
Author: Howard Reich
Date: February 2, 2014

Two leonine saxophonists of very different sorts made major statements over the weekend, each reaffirming his stature as soloist and bandleader.

Though Branford Marsalis and Ken Vandermark occupy distinct locales on the jazz spectrum, listeners with varying tastes easily could admire the work of both men. For Marsalis and Vandermark proved that clarity of vision and ferocity of expression make a deep impact on an audience, regardless of the musical style or idiom at play. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on February 3rd, 2014 — 10:59am

Branford Marsalis @ North Central College

Publication: Chicago Reader
Author: Peter Margasak
Date: February 24, 2013

For the past five years or so saxophonist Branford Marsalis has been calling out what he sees as the jazz world’s problem with insularity—for some players, he says, technical mastery and precision trump emotional expression and the urge to communicate or entertain. The tongue-in-cheek title of his latest album, Four MFs Playin’ Tunes (Marsalis Music), certainly reads as a salvo against eggheadedness—there are indeed four badass players on this record, and they’re killing it. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on February 25th, 2013 — 12:25pm

Branford Marsalis and Quartet to Showcase New ‘Four MFs Playin’ Tunes’ at Jorgensen

Publication: Hartford Guadian
Author: Stephanie Summers
Date: February 1, 2013

Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis has played with everyone from Art Blakey and Miles Davis to Sting and the Grateful Dead, and he’s led The Tonight Show Band. Now this NEA Jazz Master and his top-notch jazz quartet will stop at Jorgensen on Feb. 7.  at 7:30 p.m. in “An Evening with Branford Marsalis.”

The quartet’s new album Four MFs Playin’ Tunes recently won the iTunes Best Instrumental Jazz Album of 2012. In this new work, Marsalis and his tight-knit quartet, enhanced anew by young drummer Justin Faulkner, play selflessly in service of each song. Compositions include two original works by each of the veterans in the group – Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis – a cover of Thelonious Monk’s classic “Teo” and the 1930 standard, “My Ideal.” Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on February 7th, 2013 — 04:43pm

That Marsalis Magic — Branford’s That Is

Publication: WBUR.org
Author: Claire Dickson
Date: February 7, 2013

It’s so tempting to get nostalgic for the golden age of jazz. Who wouldn’t want to go back in time and spend an evening with one of the greats? Charlie Parker, for example, or Miles Davis, or John Coltrane.

But greatness isn’t all in the past. Future generations, I’m sure, will think the same thoughts about Branford Marsalis.

Don’t take my word for it. From Feb. 8 to 10, Scullers Jazz Club will be presenting “An Evening with Branford Marsalis.” Marsalis will be playing with his quartet (Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass, and Justin Faulkner on drums), who recently released the CD “Four MF’s Playin Tunes.” They are a loyal group of extremely talented musicians and have something all jazz ensembles strive for — an “implicit trust” as Revis describes it. In their hands, a staple of good jazz is realized and explored in expert, satisfying ways. The artists make that sometimes elusive but all important dialogue between instruments seem effortless. They have a conversation when they play, bouncing musical ideas around, immediately responding to each other, building art in the moment. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on February 7th, 2013 — 04:33pm

CT.com Interview: Saxophonist Branford Marsalis

Publication: CT.com
Author: Michael Hamad
Date: February 4, 2013

In his 52 short years on this planet, what hasn’t saxophonist Branford Marsalis done? Composing Broadway scores and movie soundtracks; recording with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey and his brother Wynton; running the Tonight Show band, when Jay Leno took over from Johnny Carson; jamming with the Grateful Dead (check out the exquisite “Eyes of the World” on Without a Net) and subsequently venturing out into the jam-band world with Buckshot LeFonque; teaching college; winning Grammys; starting a record label; bringing aid to his native New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; leading his own quartet for more than a decade. (Whew.)

Sometime around 1996, Marsalis decided to make his quartet — longtime members Joey Calderazzo on piano and Eric Revis on bass, and relative newcomer, Justin Faulkner, on drums — his primary focus. Last year they released the aptly titled Four MFs Playin’ Tunes, which was named Best of 2012 Instrumental Jazz Album of the Year by Apple’s iTunes. He’ll bringing the powerful, musically telepathic group to UConn’s Jorgensen Center for a single night on Feb. 7.

Marsalis spoke to CT.com by phone about his new recording and the highlights of a long career in music.

Q: You’ve been with your quartet for more than a decade (drummer Justin Faulker came on board more recently). When rock groups are together for a long time, nobody bats an eyelash, but when it happens in the jazz world, it’s perceived as more of a rarity. What’s the secret behind keeping a band together?

A: Rock groups stay together for a variety of reasons, mostly that it’s a lot of money to walk away from if you become one of those groups. With a jazz group, all of the musicians have to see potential for growth. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on February 5th, 2013 — 11:03am

Jazz Master Branford Marsalis Serves Up Variety at CSUN Valley Arts Center

Publication: Northridge Patch
Author: Barry Garron
Date: February 3, 2013

When he recorded his most recent CD, Four MFs Playin’ Tunes, Branford Marsalis said he just wanted to play the best of what’s out there, no matter who wrote it. He took the same approach to the selections performed during An Evening with Branford Marsalis on Saturday night at CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center.

Though his quartet played only seven numbers in the hour and three quarters they held the stage, their choices revealed the breadth of talent encompassed by these extraordinary jazz musicians.  New songs, old songs, songs by masters, songs of their own composition—nothing was off-limits for saxophonist Marsalis, a three-time Grammy winner, and the three other members of his quartet: Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Justin Faulkner on drums. Read more »

Branford Marsalis and Delta Rae come from Durham to demonstrate Carolina intensity

Publication: Salt Lake Tribune
Author: David Burger
Date: January 31, 2013

As music writers, we search for connections between musicians, no matter how threadbare.

For example, up-and-coming folk-rock band Delta Rae has appeared on “The Tonight Show” two times since its debut album was released last summer, and Branford Marsalis was once the bandleader of “The Tonight Show.”

Another slim connection: Delta Rae band members and Marsalis live in Durham, N.C.

But the best connection is that both will headline in Utah within the next week: Delta Rae will make its Utah debut on Park City’s Eccles Center stage on Saturday, while Marsalis will return to Utah with his famed collection of saxophones and three other top-flight musicians on Tuesday. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on February 1st, 2013 — 01:21pm

Branford Marsalis At Jorgensen

Publication: The Hartford Courant
Author: Owen McNally
Date: January 31, 2013

Still soaring on the propulsive power and high-octane creativity of one of his best and brightest releases in awhile, saxophonist/composer Branford Marsalis sets down with his hard-swinging but sensitive quartet Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Connecticut’s Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts.

An Evening with Branford Marsalis and the Branford Marsalis Quartet,” as the swinging Storrs jazz soiree is called, features the NEA Jazz Master and Grammy Award- winning warrior collaborating with his fine, empathetic pianist Joey Calderazzo, big-toned bassist Eric Revis and his young, sensational drummer, Justin Faulkner.

An evening’s worth of the catalytic, collaborative mix of Marsalis and Calderazzo just by itself would have made the trip to Jorgensen quite rewarding. Add to that already superior blend, Revis, who flawlessly takes care of business on bass, and the fabulous Faulkner, and potentially you’ve got one of the winter’s major jazz events in Connecticut. Read more »

Branford Marsalis and Quartet to Showcase FOUR MFS PLAYIN' TUNES at Jorgensen, 2/7

Publication: BroadwayWorldMusic.com
Date: January 23, 2013

rammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis has played with everyone from Art Blakey and Miles Davis to Sting and the Grateful Dead, and he’s led The Tonight Show Band. Now this NEA Jazz Master and his top-notch jazz quartet will stop at Jorgensen on Feb. 7, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. in “An Evening with Branford Marsalis.”

The quartet’s new album Four MFs Playin’ Tunes recently won the iTunes Best Instrumental Jazz Album of 2012. In this new work, Marsalis and his tight-knit quartet, enhanced anew by young drummer Justin Faulkner, play selflessly in service of each song. Compositions include two original works by each of the veterans in the group - Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis - a cover of Thelonious Monk’s classic “Teo” and the 1930 standard, “My Ideal.”

The deft way the recording flows puts Marsalis in mind of the one-day wonders of Blue Note-style recording sessions. But more time was taken here. Marsalis says, “I feel blessed to have marvelously talented musicians in this band that can play very difficult tunes and hook them up and make it sound easy. This recording is a perfect example. They always hook it up.” Read more »