tommy smith

Among Friends – Branford Marsalis with The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra Live In Perth 27.9.13

Publication: www.INSTRUMENTAL.com
Date: September 29, 2013

There some names in jazz that carry with them innumerable expectations and assumptions. Unsurprisingly, most of them turn out to be wrong because we have come to believe the media streams before the evidence of our own eyes and ears. Branford Marsalis is one of those names, and his appearances with The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO) will set the record straight for those smart enough or lucky enough to have had a ticket.

Most of the press hubris surrounding the family name quickly descends into a chaotic dissection of the jazz body politic and the fomenting of non-existent controversy. Fortunately, Branford Marsalis has friends and fans on his side who only want to hear him play and this is where he found himself last Friday night at Perth Concert Hall.

Better still The Music of Wayne Shorter provided exactly the sort of platform for the scope of his artistry while the SNJO directed by saxophonist and founder Tommy Smith, offered a superbly realized context for Shorter’s demanding music. Not content with that, they presented challenges to themselves and pearls to the audience with gymnastic arrangements provided by the likes of Manu Pekar, Mike Gibbs, Geoffrey Keezer and newcomer Jacob Mann.

Marsalis is famous for disregarding musical boundaries but is especially associated with classical settings of tremendously mellifluous and lyrically flowing melody. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on October 28th, 2013 — 09:40am

Branford Marsalis in Wayne’s world

Publication: The Scotsman
Author: Jim Gilchrist
Date: September 23, 2013

Shorter, 80 this year, has been a hugely influential figure during his various periods with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis, jazz-rockers Weather Report and in his own Blue Note recordings. Marsalis, the 53-year-old scion of a famously musical family, has carved an international reputation of his own, as a powerful and independently-minded jazz player as well as a lyrical interpreter of classical music.

This will be Marsalis’s first collaboration with the SNJO, although he has known its director, fellow-saxophonist Tommy Smith, “forever”. When I ask if he’ll be avoiding slavish replication, he replies: “I’m completely into replicating it. I have the opposite view of most of my jazz colleagues… I don’t do any form of music as a 
vehicle to glorify myself per se.

“A lot of people might say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna do Wayne Shorter’s music, but I’m going to be me,’” Marsalis observes drily, citing “Daniel Day-Lewis’s excellent portrayal of Abe Lincoln. Some people go so far as to say it’s almost like he was the man himself. Really?

“As I know from studying drama, the idea is to capture the essence of a person, not every single one of their mannerisms. So when I play Shorter’s music, I’ll try to play the essence of it. I’ve spent so much time studying it that it’s virtually impossible for me not to have his influences coming to bear.” Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 23rd, 2013 — 08:13am