wayne shorter

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

SNJO/Branford Marsalis Perth Concert Hall

Publication: Herald Scotland
Author: Rob Adams
Date: September 30, 2013

Wayne Shorter’s reputation as one of the jazz world’s most thoughtful and keenly melodic composers was fully endorsed by this warm, beautifully realised celebration of his art by what one of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s high-profile recent guests described as “one of the best jazz orchestras on the planet” in concert with another jazz luminary, saxophonist Branford Marsalis.

As featured soloist on Shorter’s twin specialisms of tenor and soprano saxophones, Marsalis never tried to emulate his hero, although Shorter’s liking for precise, gnomic phrases possibly influenced his thought processes occasionally. His playing was by turns direct and expansive and always brilliantly cogent and in the spirit of the composition, be it ever so slightly mysterious or downright amiable.

Submitted by Courtney on September 30th, 2013 — 09:58am

Marsalis pitches it right for SNJO

Publication: Herald Scotland
Author: Rob Adams
Date: September 27, 2013

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra could hardly have wished for a better spokesman for its latest project than the man who will take the stage as featured soloist with the orchestra this weekend to pay tribute to the great saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter.

When asked what makes Shorter’s often enigmatic music attractive to him as a musician, Branford Marsalis gives a reply that will lend SNJO’s marketing effort any lift it might need.

Despite the harmonic complexity in his music, Shorter’s music has beautiful melodies you can follow as a casual listener,” he says, before adding the line that the floating audience needs to hear: “One doesn’t have to be a jazz fanatic to appreciate his music.”

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

Branford Marsalis: I’m a MF Musician!

Publication: iRockJazz.com
Author: Matthew Allen
Date: June 10, 2013

“I don’t use songs as a vehicle to glorify myself. I’m going to play whatever is required to make the song successful.” These are the words of Branford Marsalis. He’s a man that understands that it’s not all about him. Considering the big names he’s played with from Sting to Gang Starr, and all the hit songs he’s played on, it’s a wonder that he hasn’t gotten a big head, but the truth is that in the realm of jazz, it’s easy for some to get caught up in their own ideas and try to show them off to whomever is listening. Marsalis, however, takes no part in that line of thinking, and it’s a main reason why he’s been as successful as he has and why he continues to grow and educate others in that the music is more important than the musician.

Marsalis has long considered himself as a musician rather than as a saxophonist. In his mind, there is a big difference between the two in that a musician is someone that knows what it takes to make a song reach its highest potential, even if it means not playing as fast as one can or as many notes as is possible. “For the instrumentalist, the instrument is the center of their life; for a musician, the music they play is the center of their life,” Marsalis explains to iRockJazz. “In order to play music and communicate with people you have to have something in common with people. Most people don’t spend eight hours a day or four hours a day in a little cubicle working on complicated devices to play on stage. ”

Marsalis spent his childhood playing in funk bands as part of the horn section and grasped the concept of knowing his role. This method of thinking led him to lend his instrument saxophone to some of the biggest recordings of the late 21st century, such as Shanice’s pop smash “I Love Your Smile” and Public Enemy’s iconic anthem “Fight the Power.” “First of all, I don’t go up there playing jazz solos. I employ jazz sensibilities and it’s unique and it’s different in the way it sounds, but I understand my role in that situation.”

Branford Marsalis: Don’t call him an instrumentalist. He’s an MF musician

Publication: IRockJazz.com
Author: Matthew Allen
Date: September 7, 2012

“I don’t use songs as a vehicle to glorify myself. I’m going to play whatever is required to make the song successful.” These are the words of Branford Marsalis. He’s a man that understands that it’s not all about him. Considering the big names he’s played with from Sting to Gang Starr, and all the hit songs he’s played on, it’s a wonder that he hasn’t gotten a big head, but the truth is that in the realm of jazz, it’s easy for some to get caught up in their own ideas and try to show them off to whomever is listening. Marsalis, however, takes no part in that line of thinking, and it’s a main reason why he’s been as successful as he has and why he continues to grow and educate others in that the music is more important than the musician.

Marsalis has long considered himself as a musician rather than as a saxophonist. In his mind, there is a big difference between the two in that a musician is someone that knows what it takes to make a song reach its highest potential, even if it means not playing as fast as one can or as many notes as is possible. “For the instrumentalist, the instrument is the center of their life; for a musician, the music they play is the center of their life,” Marsalis explains to iRockJazz. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 10th, 2012 — 10:35am

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 »

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: The Boston Globe
Author: Bill Beuttler
Date: June 21, 2011

“Songs of Mirth and Melancholy,’’ the excellent new duo album from saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his longtime pianist Joey Calderazzo, leans more melancholic than mirthful. There is an emphasis on melody, too. A composer giant apiece from the jazz and classical genres is represented, via Wayne Shorter’s “Face on the Barroom Floor’’ and Brahms’s “Die Trauernde,’’ and the performers’ own compositions have a classical-sounding stateliness to them as well, and a relative scarcity of blue notes aside from Calderazzo’s jazzier “One Way’’ and the closing bars of Marsalis’s “Endymion.’’ Those two and Calderazzo’s “Bri’s Dance’’ are as up-tempo and mirthful as the album gets, with Marsalis’s pyrotechnics and tone on “Endymion’’ both calling to mind tenor colossus Sonny Rollins. For the most part, though, the musicians deemphasize playing lots of notes in their pursuit of meaningful melody and sweet melancholy. A couple of standouts in that vein are Marsalis’s “The Bard Lachrymose’’ and Calderazzo’s “La Valse Kendall,’’ both of which (like most of the album) Marsalis performs on soprano. (Out now) Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 23rd, 2011 — 03:02pm

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 »

CD: Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo – Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Publication: The Arts Desk
Date: June 2, 2011
Author: Peter Quinn

It may have taken just three days to record, but this new duo recording from sax player Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo has 13 years of music-making behind it, dating back to when Calderazzo replaced the late, great Kenny Kirkland in the Branford Marsalis Quartet in 1998. We’ve come to expect a superabundance of imagination from both these players, but in Songs of Mirth and Melancholy Marsalis and Calderazzo seem to tap into even deeper levels of musical empathy and intuition. Read more »