Publication: Elmore Magazine
Author: Richard Antone
The Branford Marsalis Quartet observed their tenth anniversary in fine style, wrapping up a week at Jazz Standard on Mother’s Day. Fresh from a recent stint of concert appearances with the Grateful Dead, they came out smokin’ with Jeff Watts’ “Mr. JJ.” Marsalis, as usual, proved to be a soaring, expressive soloist on this and other tunes, including pianist Joey Calderazzo’s reflective “Hope,” and former Marsalis keyboardist Kenny Kirkland’s “Steepian Faith.” Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis both offered excellent solos.
While it was ironic that the quartet was observing its tenth year with no personnel changes without its hard-swinging drummer Jeff Watts, Justin Faulkner was a deftly talented substitute. A teasing, tempo-shifting version of Thelonious Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser” closed the set.