The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
By Virginia Ross, For The Quill
Frankly, I was expecting traditional jazz of Louis Armstrong, but what Bradford Marsalis' quartet offered was Progressive Jazz so said my friend, Sharon Eisenmayer, who is a jazz aficionado; she knows her jazz. A great crowd was ready for the program and enthusiastically clapped for different sets.
From what I heard, I think this is what progressive jazz sounds like (in this case, the quartet began with a piece and then improvisations were added as the music progressed. Otherwise, the group began somewhere and ended somewhere else).
As no program was supplied, the audience went with the sound and enjoyed the expertise of each musician. Bradford Marsalis switched from the soprano sax to the alto as the pieces required.
Everything from a high energy beat to a slow, ponderous, smooth melody was visited throughout the evening.
My favorites were "Stardust(that smooth, dreamy melody)" by Hoagy Carmichael, "St. James, Infirmary (a New Orleans sound), "and the encore, "It Don't Mean A Thing (If it Ain't Got That Swing)."
The quartet is composed of Branford Marsalis on the sax, Joey Calderazzo tickling the ivories (pianist), Eric Revis strumming the base, and Justin Faulkner frantic on the drums. Each had an opportunity to showcase his talent by adding to the innovations to each piece.
Branford Marsalis is from a noted New Orleans jazz family and after college joined with trumpet legend Clark Terry and Art Blakey's legendary Jazz Messengers. When he left with his brother Wynton to form the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, a new sound was born-uncompromising acoustic jazz. Branford has appeared with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollin as well in a duet with boyhood friend Harry Connick, Jr. His list of accomplishments goes on and on. Burlington was, indeed, honored to have him appear on the Auditorium stage.
Joey Calderazzo, who is a noted composer as well as accompanist, is considered one of the finest pianist in jazz. "Musically, I like cornering yourself and trying to get out of it. You paint yourself into a corner and then figure a way to get out of it. That is the challenge," he said. His expertise showed in the many improvisations that he added to the program.
Eric Revis is considered one of the most talented and accomplished musicians of his generation. He is a Grammy Award-winning bassist and composer and has become an important voice for jazz over the last 15 years.
Justin Faulkner, the drummer, is a wild man with a stick (my assessment). He set the rhythm and energized each piece.
Mr. Faulkner was a child prodigy, entering the jazz scene at 13 years and has played with Peter Nero, Jimmy Heath, Orrin Evans, Sean Jones, Tim Warfield, Bernard Purdie, Pharoah Saunders, Mingus Big Band/ Dynasty/Orchestra and many others. He joined the Quartet in March 2009 and is world renown in his own right.
Civic Music wrapped up the season with a winner; I'm looking forward to next year. (Notes from program included in this article.)