Branford Marsalis Quartet

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Branford Marsalis Quartet
LABELS: Marsalis Music/Universal
ALBUM TITLE: Branford Marsalis Quartet
WORKS: Braggtown
PERFORMER: Branford Marsalis (saxophone), Joey Calderazzo (piano), Eric Revis (bass), Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 460 0042
The energy, guts and virtuosity

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of this group are in no doubt,

but Braggtown, like so many of

Branford’s earlier records, still

can’t quite muster a stand-alone

individuality. The opening ‘Jack

Baker’, for instance, does the classic

John Coltrane Quartet better than

anyone, but it’s more like a party

trick than an artistic statement. The

three longest tracks are the blowouts,

but for once Marsalis saves his

most effective and striking music for

the ballads. ‘Hope’ is an absorbing

meditation, while a version of

Purcell’s ‘O Solitude’ is almost

painfully pretty. If it’s a mixed bag,

Branford’s force of delivery still asks

the listener to pay attention, even

across a 74-minute CD. It’s too bad,

though, that the hollow-bodied

sound doesn’t serve the admirable

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Eric Revis very well. Richard Cook