It had been quite some time since I have seen Branford in the west but the audience here at the Smothers Theater here at beautiful Pepperdine University is packed, stacked and ready to receive.
Tonight, as we as with most nights, we have Joey Caldarazzo on piano, Eric Reevis on bass, and for me for the first time, Justin Faulkner on drums. To have a band for so many years is to have a family. Traveling, living, eating, joking and playing together allows for the love to flow between the rhythms, harmonies and cognitive space in, between and around all of the notes.
Most people think they know music. You might hear them talk about all of the concerts that they have seen, of the albums that they own and how they hung out one time with this artist or that artist. And perhaps you as a music novice may be excited by those rants of jazz knowledge. Just bear in mind that those are the experiences of one individual and the only way to truly get the fulfillment of the music is to venture down your own path of jazz enlightenment and let the vibrations of the music give meaning to you. The truth is that all we can do is be open to it. You may know some of the songs of the artists and are probably anticipating hearing them when you purchase your ticket to the concert. Chances are you will get your wish but realize, that music was created in a certain place in time and by the time you hear it, that time has passed and many new ideas have been formed and the artist is excited to share those with you as well!
These cats come on the stage with smiles and you can tell how fun the music will be. Branford is full of jokes but, usually with Branford, there is much truth to be told between the lines verbally and cognitively. Joey is always swingin’ and just recently more than just on the piano, but of the golf corse as well. His back is a bit tweaked but don’t think for one second that he won’t use that to his advantage as part of your musical experience.
The vibe is loose but the music is tight! Branford looks the same as he did twenty years ago . Faulkner is the new heartbeat and driving a new vehicle. You feel a different energetic presence that supports the foundation of the music on a whole new level.
Bang for your buck! The force be with you. People like to feel that energy on them, brushing up against their garments and invading their privacy. Sometimes the intensity may be uncomfortable, but that is where beautiful blessings of growth come in and spark new ideas and feelings about the music and ourselves!
I love the way they set the tone because this way, the audience already knows what kind of performance this is going to be. They are not going to politely clap at appropriate times, they are going to be free to feel, hear and experience real music with real emotion, real strength, and real love. The crescendo of the wave, how apropos, that is the feeling of the tides, high and low that cascade over our bodies and quench our thirst for truth in sound. Free to experience the offering that is given and only anticipating the next note not sing title.
The music feeds our conscious and tonight, I feel together with the audience. I usually feel that it is me, them and the music but tonight there is some symbioticism going on! Soprano and Tenor madness yes, but also fun, humor and groovy swing ! The trio is killin’ it! Branford winds them up and turns them loose and it’s on to adventurous pathways. Yes they probably play many of the same tunes night after night but, each space is different, each crevice, as they seek out those places to discover new dimensions in the music.
Just as we are all locking into the music, some mule, and that is putting in kindly, behind me shouted out during a bass solo, “Let’s hear the saxophone”. Just the vibration we don’t need to try and knock us off out pedestal of bliss. Luckily, Branford and the band did not hear it. The power of the music is too strong. Brother Branford knows that he is not the music, but the music is the sum of its parts that creates the force. He was letting the cats stretch so we could all know collectively how Bad-Ass his band is.
Each cat contributes by providing their own compositions and of course together twisting up classics and familiar Marsalis originals. The Marsalis name is known on a world wide scale. The audience is usually a combination of folks who love the band, folks who love the music, folks who want to associate themselves with the music, folks who come to hear the songs they know by the band, folks who don’t know the music but are open to it, and folks who are only associated with some popularity around a name. So check this out, some folks got up and left after the first few tunes. Well, I bet they came simply because the name ” Marsalis” struck some kind of popular chord with them and they “EXPECTED” to hear what they wanted to hear. One thing that people should know about jazz is that it cannot be controlled! You can’t demand to hear what you want or expect. Yes, you certainly can have expectations but, the music is free and if you are open to it, chances are, you will leave with an enjoyable experience and actually learn something new about the music and yourself! Now that the audience has been cleansed of all of the impurities, we all are free to share the experience together. If you don’t know the music, that is fine, just come and enjoy, but if you come demanding what you want to hear then you have to go!
They continued the set with two precious compositions drenched with beauty leading to an encore dirge New Orleans style with the “St. James Infirmary”!
I encourage you to go and explore the music of Branford Marsalis. Sometimes it’s not who you know or what you know, it’s just great music!!!!
Click flyer below for On-Air Jazz Mob PSA
This picture of Brian Swartz was taken at my 40th Birthday party. Brian walked in and said “Happy Birthday LeRoy, here is your gift”. It was sheet music with the title “Down with Downs”. I replied, “What is This?” with a gigantic grin on my face! He wrote a song for me as a gift for listening to my show on the radio, late night on the way home after all of those gigs. I am deeply indebted for that!
Here in 2014, he has composed original music for several people such as Jaco Pastorius, Alice Coltrane, his mother, myself and a few others. Please support another beautiful musician who believes in original music and strives to create that beauty and capture moments of our life composition. Music is really a gift for you so let’s celebrate the music and ourselves! Please contribute to “Portraiture”
Double M Jazz Salon Presents
Celebrating the 80th birthday of innovative pianist and composer,
On Sunday, April 6th at 2 p.m.
The Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum
A tribute band will perform, including Roberto Miranda, bass; Bobby West, piano; Fritz Wise, drums; Michael Session and Tracy Caldwell, alto saxophones and Kamau Daáood, poet.
A pre-concert panel discussion of Horace Tapscott’s vast legacy with Music Director Roberto Miranda, is set for 1p.m.
A native Texan, Mr. Tapscott organized his first band at the tender age of nine. He was a part of the Central Avenue scene and played trombone with Lionel Hampton.
An outspoken advocate on social issues, Tapscott founded the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. The Ark was an enduring community entity that also toured Europe. Horace released eight solo recordings and collaborated with scores of other creative artists.
The Double M Jazz Salon will continue its unique program series at the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in Culver City. In 1996, Jazz Baroness Mimi Melnick
launched and hosted her inaugural salon at her Encino home on Strawberry Drive. Mimi loved jazz. She organized the jazz salons to support L.A.’s jazz community. “We are very proud and extremely honored to carry the torch”, said Executive Director Lloyd Clayton. The MCLM, collects, preserves, exhibits and celebrates, the unique history and cultural heritage of Americans of African descent.
Tickets are $20 and may be purchased online
Seating is limited. For more information, call (310) 202-1647.
with your host
Celebrating Ruth Price
Quincy Jones, The Heath Brothers, The Clayton Brothers, Billy Childs, Dwight Trible, John Beasley and more……
Give the Band A Hand
Proceeds for the evening support the CJF’s mission to provide assistance to jazz musicians in need in California.
Sunday April 6, 2014
Hyatt Regency Los Angeles Downtown
333 S. Figuroa, Los Angeles
4:30 to 5:30pm Silent Auction and Cocktails with Tom Ranier
Dinner and performance at 5:30pm
LeRoy Downs “The Jazzcat” spinning live @ Amoeba Records
March 30th @ 1pm – 2:30pm
Come down and hang for 90 minutes of Jazz love from some of you favorite Jazz Jocks in Los Angeles!!!! Shop, Support and enjoy the music LIVE!
Here is Brother Eddie Becton gettin’ down from a few weeks ago! See you there!!!
The dance of helix is always on the RISE! Matter in a Sphere of space, harmony, rhythm and implication all center around this faint beacon reaching the nocturnal Universe through the Morris Code of sonic pulsation. The heart and mind connect and the dance of the strands begin….. Think, Feel, Explore, Learn, don’t settle but “Demand Art” in its highest form. This is “where we get together and do our thang”! Trading sets of beauty!
The first order of business is a visit from the ladies from Leimert Park!!!!
Midnight til 3am