Joey Calderazzo

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Mirth and Melancholy with Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo

Publication: St. Louis Jazz Notes
Author: Dean Minderman
Date: January 15, 2012

To see Dean’s video picks, visit his original blog post here.

 This week, our video spotlight shines on saxophonist Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo, who will be in St. Louis for a duo performance on Sunday, January 22 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

In June of last year, Marsalis and Calderazzo released Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, a duo CD on the saxophonist’s Marsalis Music label. This tour essentially is a followup to that recording, which received favorable reviews such as this one from Jazz Times’ Jeff Tamarkin and this one from AllAboutJazz.com’s Mark F. Turner. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on January 17th, 2012 — 11:32am

[live review] Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo at the MFA

Publication: Boston Phoenix’s On The Download
Author: Jon Garelick
Date: December 8, 2011

That’s Branford Marsalis (center) with jazz guitar genius David Gilmore and David’s dad, Marvin — owner of the Western Front, music-enthusiast, and all-around man-about-town. The occasion was the latest in the Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Celebrity Lecture Series at the MFA, also known as “Evenings with Creative Minds.” Which is probably why it didn’t show up on the MFA’s concert calendar. That said, there was plenty of great music. Yes, Branford began by talking, in his gloriously off-the-cuff, eloquent, and blunt-spoken style.

Over the past 30 years, jazz fans have grown accustomed to the rants of Branford and younger brother Wynton. But Branford at least has always been a charming and funny gadfly. In a short talk that began with a quote from Faulkner about the expressive powers of music. Marsalis went off on the particular powers of instrumental music. Differing with Faulkner’s contention that music was the easiest way to express emotion directly, Marsalis said that to the contrary, “music is not the easiest way to express anything.” Which is why people always lean toward music with lyrics. But, he said, the difference with instrumental music is that you can never say exactly what it’s about — and that’s it’s strength.

“The idea of instrumental music is difficult and tedious for most lay-persons to get their heads around, and it’s also difficult and tedious for most musicians to get their heads around.” Read more »

Jazz notes: Sinatra at Count Basie, Billy Hart, Los Mas Valientes, Branford Marsalis

Publication: Star-Ledger
Author: Tim Wilkins
Date: December 6, 2011

Marsalis at Kean
Branford Marsalis’ concert on Friday at Enlow Recital Hall of Kean University is the best of both worlds: It presents the tenor saxophonist in the comfortable company of his longtime quartet, with Eric Revis on bass, Justin Faulkner on drums and Joey Calderazzo on piano, but Marsalis and Calderazzo will also perform as a duo (as they appear on their 2011 CD, “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy”). Marsalis is a musical modernist who values lyrical content in jazz, as well as classical music: The CD contains homages to Brahms and Prokofiev. Read more »

Interview with Branford Marsalis: Fearless lieder

Publication: Capital Bop
Author: Giovanni Russonello
Date: October 11, 2011

Branford Marsalis conveys his thoughts in conversation much as he does as a saxophonist. New ideas emerge with steady self-assurance, boldly and unceasingly. When he pauses he does it for emphasis – not because he has lost his train of thought or needs to reorient himself. If the tabloids could be bothered to expound on the scandals of the jazz world, Marsalis might be their go-to guy for headline-grabbing quotes. He’s called avant-garde legend Cecil Taylor’s demands on his audience “self-indulgent bullshit;” opined that “students today are completely full of shit,” overly coddled and under-criticized; and recently said of contemporary jazz, “There’s so little of it that’s actually good that when it’s good, it shocks me.” Marsalis’ hard-nosed perspective comes from decades spent as one of the most respected jazz saxophonists around, but it’s colored by his 10 years in the soap opera of American popular culture, first as a star in Sting’s touring band, then as musical director of the Tonight Show.

For more than 15 years now, Marsalis has focused once again on jazz, releasing a bevy of stellar post-bop albums and founding his own label, Marsalis Music. His latest record, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, a duet with pianist and longtime accomplice Joey Calderazzo, explores the alternately disconsolate and ecstatic world of German classical folk music, or lieder. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on October 12th, 2011 — 12:49pm

Review: Branford Marsalis Quartet: tour-de-force blend of order and mayhem

September 21, 2011
MercuryNews.com
By Richard Scheinin

During Tuesday night’s opening set by the Branford Marsalis Quartet at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, I sat in the front row, directly in front of the drums. This meant experiencing, for the next 75 minutes, the unremitting physical force and inventive flow of 20-year-old drummer Justin Faulkner, whose playing sums up the ethos of this great band: order and mayhem, glued together as one. The order inside the mayhem; the mayhem inside the order.

Branford MarsalisThe quartet — which you can see through Sunday at Yoshi’s-San Francisco — played two sold-out shows at the Kuumbwa, the little Santa Cruz club, where Marsalis’s group always plays as if it’s just won the lottery. This was its first visit to Santa Cruz in over two years; the last time through, Faulkner, straight out of a high school band program in Philadelphia, had just joined the group.

On “Teo,” by Thelonious Monk, Faulkner began Tuesday with the easy bounce-and-snap swing of Monk’s old drummers; someone like Frankie Dunlop. Then he threw in a New Orleans second-line flourish and moved toward a swirling Elvin Jones space, which is where this group lands a lot.

And now Marsalis entered with his solo on tenor saxophone, which he built patiently, even meticulously: Long, long notes, giving way to exhilarating bebop lines, tonguing just about every note, like old-time Sonny Rollins. Then he let loose, escalating into a post-Coltrane blast furnace — and in the middle of this holy-roller mayhem, he and pianist Joey Calderazzo glanced at one another and simultaneously played two or three bars of melody from Charlie Parker’s “Yardbird Suite.”

It was surreal, as if they had stepped into an adjoining room. Were they sharing a private joke? Showing off? Or maybe their brains are just linked after 13 years of sharing the bandstand.

A
few observations: Marsalis has a massive sound; he doesn’t need to get anywhere close to a microphone to be heard. Also, he makes the saxophone sound like a woodwind; there’s this rich woodsy-ness to his tone. His delivery is urgent and beautiful. Ditto for bassist Eric Revis. Every note that he plays is a gem — fat tone, perfect pulse, like Jimmy Garrison. He never overplays; he seems to arrive at each note inevitably, as if it is the result of long, silent consideration.
Read more »

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 »