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Branford Marsalis headlines Haiti jazz festival

Publication: The Miami Herald
Author: Jacqueline Charles
Date: January 17, 2013

Like New Orleans, Haiti has experienced great suffering - poverty, disease, natural disaster.

So perhaps it’s only fitting that a week after an unlucky Haiti marked the third anniversary of its cataclysmic Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, it is one of New Orleans’ great musical sons - jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis - who will open this year’s Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival.

Being from New Orleans, Haiti has a kind of mythic status there,” said Marsalis, 52, who performs Friday in Jacmel at the Tourism Port and again Saturday in Port-au-Prince at a former sugar cane plantation-turned outdoor concert venue, Parc Historique de la Canne a Sucre.

We have a lot of similar traditions; relationships with Vodou, with music and with rhythm that’s very, very different from all of the states in the United States,” he said. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on January 18th, 2013 — 10:47am

NYC’s hot Winter Jazzfest

Publication: Jazz Beyond Jazz
Author: Howard Mandel
Date: January 14, 2013

The second weekend of January is now the fullest on NYC’s jazz calendar, with continuation of the high energy, two-night showcase Winter Jazzfest in multiple Greenwich Village venues, and aspirational ensembles elsewhere playing (they hope) for booking agents and curators attending the annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters convention. Having responsibilities of my own Friday and Saturday after the Jazz Connect conference (held in conjunction with APAP), I had to limit my actual listening — but took in the start of pianist Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express plus tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life, the Revive Big Band, singer Claudia Acuña and solo saxophonist Colin Stetson as well as vocalist Macy Gray with saxman David Murray’s Big Band at Iridium in midtown.



Ms. Acuña, who preceded Stetson at the Bitter End — best known as a folkie hangout — is a beguiling Chilean-born- and-raised vocalist and songwriter. She sings mostly in Spanish, which I don’t speak, but her voice is warm, her delivery is artful and confident, her stage manner casually dramatic and very inviting. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on January 15th, 2013 — 09:42am

Winter Jazzfest: A New-World Meshing of Pop and Folk

Publication: New York Times ArtsBeat
Author: Nate Chinen
Date: January 12, 2013

Day 2 of Winter Jazzfest began, for me, with Claudia Acuña at the Bitter End, reharmonizing “You Are My Sunshine” for a standing-room crowd. I feel as if I’m still digesting last night’s offerings, including a brilliantly indeterminate set by the bassist Eric Revis, the pianist Kris Davis and the drummer Andrew Cyrille; and a midnight set by Nasheet Waits’s Equality, featuring the pianist Vijay Iyer. I tumbled into bed this morning at 3:30, and spent most of the day looking forward to more of the same.

Ms. Acuña’s set, or what I heard of it, was propulsive and polished, a new-world amalgam of pop harmony and folk rhythm. The strongest creative force in the band was the guitarist Mike Moreno, who fashioned a spectacularly fluent solo over a Gary McFarland tune. But there was a general cohesion among the band that resonated clearly with the crowd.

Submitted by Courtney on January 14th, 2013 — 10:14am

iTunes Best of 2012

We are so pleased to announce that iTunes picked the Branford Marsalis Quartet’s Four MFs Playin’ Tunes as the Best Instrumental Jazz Album of 2012! Find Four MFs and other iTunes Best of 2012 picks here.

Submitted by Courtney on December 17th, 2012 — 03:21pm

Branford Marsalis: Confident MF Playin’ Tunes

Publication: All About Jazz
Author: R.J. DeLuke
Date: December 10, 2012

Musicians evolve, and so do bands, if they’re allowed to stay together long enough to develop their musical relationships—that certain chemistry. Such is the case with Branford Marsalis, the outstanding saxophonist who has been through so much in his storied career. It’s also the case with his band, which he has kept together, with few personnel changes, for more than a decade. They are a tight unit that continues to ripen. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 10th, 2012 — 10:07am