Author: Jay Harvey
Date: June 20, 2011
You can’t find any more thoughtful jazz musician than Branford Marsalis. He’s also a master of tone and nuance whenever he picks up the soprano or tenor saxophone. With Joey Calderazzo, his longtime collaborator on piano (a relationship as fruitful as Marsalis had with cut-off-in-his-prime Kenny Kirkland), he has released “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy” (Marsalis Music).
There are portions of this exploration of deep melody between the two players that stray into a kind of highbrow easy listening. But mostly the music rewards sustained attention, in a hopefully alpha-wave mode — hard to get into, but an inevitable drag to leave.