Branford Marsalis and Quartet to Showcase FOUR MFS PLAYIN' TUNES at Jorgensen, 2/7

Publication: BroadwayWorldMusic.com
Date: January 23, 2013

rammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis has played with everyone from Art Blakey and Miles Davis to Sting and the Grateful Dead, and he’s led The Tonight Show Band. Now this NEA Jazz Master and his top-notch jazz quartet will stop at Jorgensen on Feb. 7, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. in “An Evening with Branford Marsalis.”

The quartet’s new album Four MFs Playin’ Tunes recently won the iTunes Best Instrumental Jazz Album of 2012. In this new work, Marsalis and his tight-knit quartet, enhanced anew by young drummer Justin Faulkner, play selflessly in service of each song. Compositions include two original works by each of the veterans in the group - Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis - a cover of Thelonious Monk’s classic “Teo” and the 1930 standard, “My Ideal.”

The deft way the recording flows puts Marsalis in mind of the one-day wonders of Blue Note-style recording sessions. But more time was taken here. Marsalis says, “I feel blessed to have marvelously talented musicians in this band that can play very difficult tunes and hook them up and make it sound easy. This recording is a perfect example. They always hook it up.” Read more »

New Orleans is a dream fulfilled for Claudia Acuña

Publication: The Advocate
Author: Allison Taylor
Date: January 22, 2013

Singer/songwriter Claudia Acuña has been performing well over 20 years, starting out in her native Chile. It was there her desire to become a performer developed and was nurtured by those around her.

“I’ve never wanted to do anything else,” Acuña said. “I was always a part of a choir or tried to join any artistic group at school. So many people helped me find opportunities to just sing.”

Acuña admits to hearing artists like Erroll Garner and being intrigued by the music even before she knew that the music was called jazz.

“I was attracted to jazz because of the freedom of it,” Acuña explained. “It’s the only form of music where so many influences combine to make one sound. It’s like a cake.” Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on January 23rd, 2013 — 10:10am

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 — 11:47am

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 — 10:42am

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 — 11:14am