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)

Submitted by Courtney on June 23rd, 2011 — 04:02pm

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