Jazz Times

Four MFs Playin' Tunes— Branford Marsalis Quartet

Publication: JazzTimes
Author: Scott Albin
Date: July 31, 2012

The unassuming title of this CD doesn’t do justice to the music contained therein. This is not a case of casual acquaintances getting together to have fun jamming on commonly known standards, but rather this is music played with purpose, direction, artistic integrity, and passion by four outstanding musicians who share some history together. Bassist Eric Revis was first heard on the Branford Marsalis Quartet’s 1999 Requiem CD, while pianist Joey Calderazzo replaced the late Kenny Kirkland for the 2000 release of Contemporary Jazz. Drummer Justin Faulkner joined the group in 2009 upon the departure of Branford’s longtime associate Jeff “Tain” Watts, and the now 20 year-old Faulkner makes his debut with the quartet on Four MFs. The extremely talented young drummer adds a certain spark that raises the quality of the music from the category of excellent to the rarefied air of the extraordinary. This just may be the Branford Marsalis Quartet’s best recording to date.

Calderazzo leads off “The Mighty Sword” with a solo playing of his swirling Latin-flavored theme with its catchy three-note hook, which is then repeated by Marsalis on soprano. The pianist then takes flight with a propulsive solo that nearly takes your breath away in its persistent invention. Revis and Faulkner are in inspiring lock-step with him, as they are with Marsalis for his equally intense, probing improv. Anyone not already a huge fan of Faulkner’s after his impressive display of power and flexibility on this initial track simply isn’t listening. “Brews” is a Revis blues that sounds at first like Steve Lacy playing one of his quirky tunes influenced by Thelonious Monk. Marsalis’ soprano solo, however, is much more voluble and outgoing than what Lacy would ordinarily produce. Calderazzo’s solo cleverly toys with the thematic and rhythmic elements of the tune, while Revis’ bass exploration offers a concise insight into his piece.

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Submitted by Ben on August 2nd, 2012 — 01:21pm

Congrats, Bob!!

Congratulations to Marsalis Music’s good friend, Bob Blumenthal, whose new book about Sonny Rollins (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SONNY!!) is officially out. You may purchase Bob’s new book, Saxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny Rollins, from Amazon.com.

Bob also recently participated in an interview with Jazz Times. In the interview, Bob discusses his new book, his career as a writer and his passion for the printed word. Please click here to read the interview.

Best wishes to Bob and his terrific new book!!

Natural Phenomenon-Gracefully powerful and effortlessly swinging, 18-year-old drum prodigy Justin Faulkner is dropping jaws with the Branford Marsalis Quartet

Date: 11.01.2009
Publication: Jazz Times
Author: Shaun Brady

 

During the last week of August, Justin Faulkner essentially bade farewell to Philadelphia by filling a familiar role-playing house drummer behind vibraphonist Tony Miceli for the weekly jam session at Chris’ Jazz Café.
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Submitted by Ben on November 1st, 2009 — 12:00am

Folk Art: On Esta Plena, saxophonist Miguel Zenón matches the proletarian plena music of his native Puerto Rico with modern-jazz ethos

Date: 11.01.2009
Publication: Jazz Times
Author: Fernando Gonzalez


Smart and tough, the music on saxophonist Miguel Zenón’s Esta Plena (Marsalis) often evokes the sounds of his neighborhood back in Puerto Rico. But Esta Plena is not about nostalgia- it’s about a certain wisdom.
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Submitted by Ben on November 1st, 2009 — 12:00am

Branford Marsalis Releases New Quartet CD, Guests with North Carolina Symphony

Date: 03.02.2009
Publication: Jazz Times
Author: Jeff Tamarkin

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Submitted by Josh on March 2nd, 2009 — 01:00am

Branford's Tribute to Alvin Batiste

Date: 03.01.2008
Publication: Jazz Times
Author: Branford Marsalis

ALVIN BATISTE (1932-2007) Like many of the guys from his generation, Alvin played everything but was classically trained, so all of his music was informed by that classical training. When Larry Combs, the retiring principal clarinetist in the Chicago Symphony, was in New Orleans for a while, Alvin asked him for a lesson. Larry told Alvin to play something, and Alvin played a bit of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto. After listening, Larry said, “That’s great. Do you play jazz, too?” After he heard Bat play a few songs, he then said, “There’s nothing I can teach you, but thanks for stopping by.”
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Submitted by Ben on March 1st, 2008 — 01:00am

Amanecer just might be the album that gets his gifts as both a composer and a solo pianist embraced on a greater scale.

Date: 07.01.2007
Publication: Jazz Times
Author: Mike Shanley


Joey Calderazzo is best known as a member of bands led by Branford Marsalis and the late Michael Brecker, but Amanecer just might be the album that gets his gifts as both a composer and a solo pianist embraced on a greater scale. Granted, he has eight previous albums to his credit, dating back 16 years and this isn’t his first solo album (that was Haiku, released in 2003). Additionally, this isn’t strictly solo: four pieces here actually feature him in duo or trio settings with vocalist Claudia Acuña and guitarist Romera Lubamambo.
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Submitted by Ben on July 1st, 2007 — 12:00am

Doug Wamble To Explore The World Of William Faulkner Thanks To Composition Grant

Publication: Jazz Times
Author: Marsalis Music


Congratulations are in order to Marsalis Music artist Doug Wamble, who recently learned that he had been awarded a New Works grant from Chamber Music America. The grant program, which supports the creation of new music by established ensembles with a history of performing original music featuring jazz improvisation, will allow Wamble to compose an extended piece for his working quartet plus horns that provides a sound portrait of the fictional world of William Faulkner.
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Submitted by Ben on July 1st, 2007 — 12:00am

Year in Review '06 Readers Poll

Date: 01.01.2007
Publication: Jazztimes


The January/February 2007 issue of JazzTimes features the magazine’s Readers’ Poll, which lists tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, the featured soloist on Marsalis Music Honors Michael Carvin, as “Best New Artist” of ’06 ”

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Submitted by Ben on January 1st, 2007 — 01:00am