Joey Calderazzo

Review: Branford Marsalis Quartet at the Lobero Theatre

Publication: Santa Barbara Independent
Author: Charles Donelan
Date: May 8, 2014

“It’s going to get kind of funky tonight,” said Branford Marsalis upon taking the Lobero stage, adding, “and it’s going to be fun.” The artist and his current quartet delivered on both counts, as the group’s 100 minute set flew by, with each extended composition revealing another aspect of this consummate musician’s mastery. The opener, “The Mighty Sword” featured Marsalis on soprano sax, an instrument he wields with a combination of sophistication and power comparable to that of the late John Coltrane, an acknowledged inspiration for much of what this quartet does. Pianist Joey Calderazzo added plenty of funk to this otherwise straight-ahead post-bop blast off.

Three quarters of this extraordinarily cohesive band has been together for decades. The one relative newcomer, drummer Justin Faulkner, is an amazing find, and his playing throughout the night was a revelation. 

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Submitted by Courtney on May 9th, 2014 — 01:21pm

Review: Branford Marsalis Quartet delivers knockout punch

Publication: San Jose Mercury News
Author: Richard Scheinin
Date: April 27, 2014

SANTA CRUZ — As the Branford Marsalis Quartet opened its late show Monday at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, drummer Justin Faulkner jabbed like a boxer. Hook. Uppercut. Jab, jab, jab. The band’s music was raw and rumbling, almost violent — but played with such scarifying control as to convey a sense of elegance, too. It was Muhammad Ali music: float, sting, deliver the knockout punch.

Composed by Joey Calderazzo, the group’s pianist, the tune was titled “The Mighty Sword,” which tells you all you have to know.

For the next 90 minutes — it was the second of two sold-out shows, preceding a two-night run in San Francisco — saxophonist Marsalis and his group engaged a strategy of virtuosity and cockiness, clarity and clout. It covered a lot of territory — bebop and 1970s Keith Jarrett rubato, as well as a tune associated with Louis Armstrong — but it kept coming back to the power-punch and to its own brand of blowtorch Coltrane intensity. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on April 30th, 2014 — 11:13am

'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 »

Festival Review: Red Sea Jazz Festival August 18-21

Publication: The Jerusalem Post
Author: Barry Davis
Date: August 25, 2013

Branford Marsalis may have noted it was devilishly hot at the start of his quartet’s first gig at last week’s Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, but he did absolutely nothing to moderate the furnace-like conditions. He and his cohorts – pianist Joey Calderazzo, bass player Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner – poured out tons of white-hot energy and blistering, silky skills right from the word go.

In a pre-festival interview, 52-year-old saxophonist Marsalis had talked about intensity as his byword, and that was the key to the group’s success. The foursome played material from its latest album, Four MFs Playin’ Tunes, as well as the odd standard, and there was ne’er a dull moment in the entire 80+ minute set.

A prime example was Revis’s seemingly never ending ostinato – repetitive phrase – on one of the numbers. The order and volume of the bass notes never changed, but the intensity of the sound appeared to ebb and flow as the rest the band members did their thing. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on August 26th, 2013 — 02:37pm

The Week That Was: Branford Marsalis Quartet at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond

Publication: Kentucky.com
Author: Walter Tunis
Date: March 7, 2013

One doesn’t normally associate the dramatics and dynamics of a jazz artist, especially one as heralded as Branford Marsalis, with a stage move. But last week, the multi-Grammy-winning saxophonist and bandleader came up with one, whether he realized it or not, that was literally in step with the cool and wildly adventurous music conjured by his quartet. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on March 8th, 2013 — 11:40am

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

‘An Evening with Branford Marsalis’ at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Publication: DCMetroTheaterArts.com
Author: Tiffany Draut
Date: February 16, 2013

Five Stars
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is known for its quality performances, and the audience is always more than appreciative. But the February 15, 2013 concert, An Evening with Branford Marsalis, had a level of energy and excitement not often seen at the Center.

Introduced by Susie Farr, the quartet sauntered onstage as if they were showing up to an informal jam session—a fun, relaxed tone that continued throughout the evening, and allowed the audience to relax and truly get excited about the music. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on February 19th, 2013 — 06:18pm

Branford Marsalis Quartet brings intensity to University of Maryland

Publication: Washington Examiner
Author: Emily Cary
Date: February 14, 2013

Saxophonist/composer Branford Marsalis has been at the forefront of American jazz since his first foray out of his native New Orleans where the Marsalis family’s musical heritage stirs civic pride. Following membership in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the “Tonight Show” band, he has composed Broadway scores and film soundtracks, taught, established his record label and launched the Branford Marsalis Quartet.

Direct from “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, the quartet set forth on a tour destined for Oman and Europe with a stop Friday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center for an evening of creative jazz. Prior to the concert, Marsalis and art professor David C. Driskell will discuss “Convergence: The Intersection of Visual and Performance Art in Jazz,” an exhibition opening concurrently in the David C. Driskell Center. Marsalis is committed to preserving jazz history and the works of its artists.

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Submitted by Courtney on February 15th, 2013 — 01:58pm

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