songs of mirth and melancholy

For jazz pianist Joey Calderazzo, improvisation is the thrill of the hunt

Publication: Lexington Herald-Leader
Author: Walter Tunis
Date: January 15, 2012

In describing Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, the recent album of piano and saxophone duets he recorded with longtime bandmate Branford Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo seemed almost dismissive.

Like most of the recordings he has been associated with — be they solo projects or the numerous works  undertaken during the past 12 years with  Marsalis’ extraordinary jazz  quartet — Calderazzo views Mirth almost  exclusively in the past tense. The jazz process for him involves immersing himself in the music, seeking something applicable from it that can benefit his playing, then moving on. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on January 17th, 2012 — 12:31pm

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 »

Best jazz albums of 2011

Publication: Stanford Daily
Author: Alexandra Heeney
Date: December 7, 2011

Songs of Mirth and Melancholy”–Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo
Jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo’s much-anticipated duo album of original music is absolutely marvelous, with a mix of foot-tapping numbers like “One Way” and beautiful ballads like “The Bard Lachrymose.” The result is a wonderful album that shows off what a jazz duo is meant to do.
Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 8th, 2011 — 12:09pm

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 »

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: PopMatters
Author: Will Layman
Date: June 14, 2011

Branford is the fun Marsalis, the Marsalis who played with Sting and the Grateful Dead, the funny Marsalis who fooled around with a movie career (Throw Momma From the Train) and who was the bandleader and sidekick when Jay Leno first took over the Tonight Show way back.

But that can be deceptive. Branford, in many ways, has been just as “serious” about music as his polemical brother Wynton. Particularly when it comes to playing passionately straight-ahead jazz, Branford has been more hard-nosed. His quartet has been a long-standing institution that rarely indulges in themed records or gimmicks. Mostly, Branford has insisted on charging post-bop and aching classic ballads, drawing on the tradition of Rollins, Coltrane and Byas. Branford’s quartet has been an ain’t-no-foolin’-around outfit.

Since the pianist Kenny Kirkland passed away in 1998, the piano chair in Branford’s quartet has been decisively owned by Joey Calderazzo. Read more »

Branford Marsalis/JoeyCalderazzo – Songs Of Mirth And Melancholy – Marsalis Music

Publication: Audiophile Audition
Author: Robbie Gerson
Date: June 13, 2011

  ****½:
(Branford Marsalis – saxophone; Joey Calderazzo – piano)

When Kenny Kirkland passed away in 1998, the future of The Branford Marsalis Quartet was in question. However, pianist Joey Calderazzo proved to be an ideal replacement. Marsalis (under his own label) had been performing and introducing new artists to an ever-expanding jazz milieu. Hailing from a legendary New Orleans musical family, he garnered acclaim as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the Wynton Marsalis quintet. Subsequently, he formed his own group, but was in demand as a session player (Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Sting and Miles Davis). Additionally, he performed as a soloist for assorted symphonies and orchestras. This duality of classical music and jazz has produced a unique pursuit of artistic expression. In the family tradition, Marsalis has been involved in numerous collegiate workshops and instruction.

When Marsalis and Calderozzo decided to record as a duet, they wanted have a departure from the typical jazz collaboration. Songs Of Mirth And Melancholy does exactly that. Read more »

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: JazzTimes
Author: Jeff Tamarkin
Date: June 7, 2011

Sometimes an album’s title tells you everything you need to know. Songs of Mirth and Melancholy is truth in advertising, a concise, pinpoint description of what this recording offers. But the title alone doesn’t go far enough in conveying the level of elegance and intimacy resident within this collaboration between saxophonist Branford Marsalis and the pianist in his regular quartet, Joey Calderazzo. Since his induction into the band in 1998, when he replaced the late Kenny Kirkland, Calderazzo has consistently developed, his acumen as a player and the maturity of his songwriting adding significantly to the quartet’s breadth. Calderazzo has also released several albums as a leader that reaffirm his ingenuity. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 7th, 2011 — 01:56pm

CD reviews: 'Mirth and Melancholy' shows more about Marsalis' abilities

Publication: Pittsburgh Tribune
Date: June 5, 2011
Author: Bob Karlovits

Branford Marsalis is clearly the most engaging member of his musically wealthy family. Whether on his collection of classics “Romances for Saxophone,” as a guest with Sting or on this duet album, “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy,” Marsalis always is finding new truths about his instrument. This disc with pianist Joey Calderazzo is a collection of seven originals from one or the other, one piece by Wayne Shorter and one by Johannes Brahms. The are played in a virtuosic way with respect to the music and to each other. The album has variety that ranges from a uptempo “One Way” by Calderazzo to his classically flavored “Hope” and Marsalis’ “The Bard Lachrymose,” which has the same formal nature. This is one not to pass up. It is available Tuesday.

Submitted by Courtney on June 6th, 2011 — 01:36pm

Songs of Mirth and Melancholy Review

Publication: All Music
Date: June 5, 2011
Author: Thom Jurek

Given the history that saxophonist Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo have, the end results of Songs of Mirth and Melancholy should not be surprising, yet they are. Calderazzo replaced the late Kenny Kirkland in Marsalis’ band in 1998 and the rapport between them is seamlessly intuitive as revealed here. Cut in three days in Durham, North Carolina, the set contains compositions by both men, as well as a surprising pair of covers. As the title implies, this is a study in mood contrasts, and it begins on an up note with Calderazzo’s rollicking “One Way.” Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 6th, 2011 — 01:11pm