April is Jazz Appreciation Month
Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is a time to celebrate the unique qualities of America’s art form, the talents of jazz legends, the joy music can bring to its audiences, and whatever jazz means to you. JAM culminates with International Jazz Day on April 30 featuring an exciting line-up of jazz all-stars from around the globe celebrating in style at an outdoors concert in Osaka, Japan.
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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.