Jazz Up Your Holiday Season
Many thanks to all of you fans that shared your favorite jazzy holiday tunes with us via email, Facebook, and Twitter. We compiled your suggestions into a playlist on Spotify, so please listen via the following link and feel free to add any more suggestions you might have: Jazzy Holiday Favorites
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Branford Marsalis Quartet: Four MFs Playin’ Tunes
Publication: The Abso!ute Sound
Author: Bill Milkowski
Date: October 1, 2012
This wryly-titled offering is the first to feature drummer Justin Faulkner, who replaced Jeff “Tain” Watts in the BMQ lineup in 2009 at age 18. This 180-gram double LP (also released on CD) is an immaculate-sounding collection that puts a premium on melody, though not at the expense of virtuosic soloing. Pianist Joey Calderazzo, a BMQ member since 1998, has matured into a first-rate composer and stellar improviser who relies less on his considerable chops than he did when he broke in with Michael Brecker’s group in the early 90s. His riff-oriented “The Mighty Sword” is as memorable as anything he’s ever written while his ethereal “As Summer Into Autumn Slips” beautifully showcases Marsalis’ unparalleled soprano playing. Marsalis’ “Whiplash” is a kinetic romp that unleashes Faulkner on the kit while his freeblowing “Endymion” recalls the potent chemistry of the Keith Jarrett Quartet with Dewey Redman, Paul Motian, and Charlie Haden. There’s a clever second line rendition of Monk’s “Teo” and Marsalis delivers the standard “My Ideal” with relaxed tenor tones and old-school charm. The leader’s jaunty closer, “Treat It Gentle,” is an ode to soprano sax legend Sidney Bechet.