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An Evening With BRANFORD MARSALIS
Sep 21-Sep 25, 2011
An evening with one of the most innovative and forward-thinking jazz ensembles today
- Wednesday: 8pm $30, 10pm $20
- Thursday & Friday: 8pm $40, 10pm $30
- Saturday: 8pm & 10pm $40
- Sunday: 7pm $40, 9pm $30
NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award®-winning saxophonist and Tony Award® nominee composer Branford Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. The three-time Grammy Award® winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising new and established artists.
Marsalis made his Broadway debut as the composer of original music for the Tony Award® winning Broadway revival of August Wilson’s play “Fences”. Marsalis received a Tony nomination in the category of “Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre” and a 2010 Drama Desk Award® for “Outstanding Music in a Play” for his participation.
Leader of one of the finest jazz Quartets today, and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Branford has become increasingly sought after as a featured soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the Chicago, Detroit, Düsseldorf, and North Carolina Symphonies and the Boston Pops, with a growing repertoire that includes compositions by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem and Vaughn Williams. His propensity for innovative and forward-thinking compels him to seek new and challenging works by modern classical composers such as modern Scottish composer Sally Beamish who, after hearing Branford perform her composition “The Imagined Sound of Sun on Stone” at the 2006 North Sea Jazz Festival, was inspired to re-conceive a piece in progress, “Under the Wing of the Rock,” which he premiered as part of the Celtic Connections festival Beamish’s home country of Scotland in January 2009.
Making his first appearance with the New York Philharmonic in the summer of 2010, Marsalis was again invited to join them as soloist in their 2010-2011 concert series where he unequivocally demonstrated his versatility and prowess, bringing “a gracious poise and supple tone… and an insouciant swagger” (New York Times) to the repertoire.
In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts conferred the prestigious Jazz Masters Fellowship on the Marsalis Family, a celebration and acknowledgement of a family described by the New York Times as “jazz’s most storied living dynasty”, who have made an indelible mark, collectively and individually, on the history and the future of jazz, America’s art form.
Songs of Mirth and Melancholy
On Songs, the mutual admiration between Marsalis and Calderazzo is expressed through music that is the result of close listening, cooperation, and continuous adjustment to one another’s musical ideas. Branford says,“The duo is more like classical chamber music. You have to listen to each other or it doesn’t work.” Joey adds that they challenge each other to step up their playing; “I put myself out there now, painting myself into corners to see if I can figure out the puzzle.” The musicians both treat the duo performance as an opportunity for something completely unique from their performances together in the Branford Marsalis Quartet.“… the object is not to play in the same way that you play in other situations. You have to change the conversation as well as the setting. Once you know the form, you can just react to each other, which you can’t do when a group gets larger.”
Songs includes three original compositions from Marsalis, four from Calderazzo, a cover of a Wayne Shorter’s “Face on the Barroom Floor,” and Brahms’s “Die Trauernde,” which Marsalis identifies as “the inspiration for how we approach everything as a duo.” Marsalis and Calderazzo recorded Songsclose to home at Durham, North Carolina’s Hayti Center. Marsalis describes the room as having qualities that “studios and concert halls pay millions to achieve. The sound is incredibly intimate,and very naked.”
The same could be said of the sounds that Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo have brought forth on Songs of Mirth and Melancholy. Neighbors, golf buddies,teaching colleagues, longtime band members and friends, Marsalis and Calderazzo share with their listeners a passionate and profound duo collection.
Whether on the stage, in the recording studio, in the classroom or in the community, Branford Marsalis embodies a commitment to musical excellence and a determination to keep music at the forefront.