Publication: 100 Greatest Jazz Albums
With the Quartet of Branford Marsalis (tenor, alto and soprano sax) Joey Calderazzo (piano) Eric Revis (bass) and Jeff “Tain” Watts (drums) celebrating its tenth year, “Metamorphosen” returns to the inventive straight ahead post bop that is the best of their music.
There are original compositions from each member of the band.
Jeff Tain Watts contributes the opening and closing tracks, “Return Of the Jitney Man” – upfront, upbeat, complex - and “Samo” – contemplative, immersive.
The two Joey Calderazzo compositions aim at unalloyed beauty and are good vehicles for Branford Marsalis’ soparano sax.
Meanwhile, the three offerings from bassist Eric Revis have a decidedly Monk-ish quality. “Abe Vigoda”, “Sphere” (Thelonious Monk’s middle name) and the bass solo “And Then, He Was Gone” all carry the mark of the master.
In recognition of his enduring influence, there is an innovative version of Monk’s “Rhythm-A-Ning”, the only non original track on the album.
Branford Marsalis authors only one track, “Jabberwocky”, his first recorded outing on alto sax for twenty years. He says that when he wrote it , ” All I had with me was an alto saxophone, and I thought that I’d transcribe it for soprano or tenor when I got home. But it didn’t sound as good on either of those horns, so for that track I’m back on alto.” It is undoubtedly the stand out track on a very fine album.
Overall, a highly recommended album from one of the best working bands in jazz today.