The Jazzcat

Branford Marsalis and his quartet at The Vault 350

by on Mar.26, 2007, under News


There is a saying that “cracks kills”. The connotation can

be derived by the view you choose to take on the matter. Branford Marsalis and

his quartet have always seemed to amaze me because the sound is that which is

always reaching, searching and fulfilling the music with thought provoking

compositions and yes, they do kill!


Why can’t everyone play with passion and commitment for

achieving a higher degree of successful attainment? What is also peculiar about

this group is the diverse demographic that attends their performances.  Most of these folks I have never seen before

and I go to many performances here in Los

Angeles.  It

makes me happy and gives me some sense of relief that artistic creation at its

finest has not been substituted for the latest break blockbusters. There is

substance in the music and these people who span the rainbow, young and old

have come in search of the jewels in the music!


The ballads are so sweet. 

One thing that Branford has that makes his music such a success is that

he has the advantage of having players as friends who have been committed to

being a band and perfecting the quality of the sound.  Practically each member has been a leader of

their own band. Joey Caldarazzo, Jeff “Tain” Watts

and Eric Revis each know individually what artistic creation they wish to

express as well as the butting head pressure of the business. So having that

experience multiplied created a bond of unity, understanding and a like minded

approach to the recordings, the performances and the music itself.


One thing I love about Branford is that he is a straight up

cat.  He is not concerned about

entertaining and trying to control the emotions of his audience by what or how

he plays.  His interest is based purely

on reality and this comes across organically in his persona, his life and

especially his music.  People are thirsty

for a good dose of nutrients and not all of this fast food crap.


Tain’s solos speaks to you personally and is not just a

series of practiced exercises that he thinks will sound good or get a great

reaction from the crowd. These cats are inspired by their own inspiration.  They are playing notes that they did not even

know a milli-second ahead of time that they were going to play.  It is these spontaneous combustible precious

notes that take each musician down different roads carving out new maps in the

music each time it is played; same skeletons, different frame, new face.  It is a caramel cluster of musical ingredients

that always add up to the best in audible delights.


Freedom, colors, aggressive attacks, romantic tones,

cognitive dissonance, complex structures, melodic fragments all amount to an

intelligent enlightened communication packaged perfectly and delivered as our

gifts. Inspiration for compositions can come from a number of incidences but,

weather historic fairytale or nonfiction, the combination of imagination; real

life and humor all amount to dynamic energetic musical experiences.  Go get a dose of BM4! The Branford Marsalis




LeRoy Downs


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