Branford Marsalis Quartet - Metamorphosen
While brother Wynton has garnered greater attention over the years with a string of ambitious large scale projects, the saxophonist has arguably produced the more consistently satisfying body of work on record. This quartet with pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts has been at the core of much of that work, and here they demonstrate again why they are one of the tightest and most empathic jazz groups around.
Their energised romp through drummer Watts’ ‘The Return of the Jitney Man’ provides immediate evidence of their class. Calderazzo’s ballads, ‘The Blossom of Parting’ and ‘The Last Goodbye’, provide a contrasting poignancy and lucid beauty. The cool, effervescent swinger ‘Jabberwocky’ is Marsalis’ only composition, while Revis contributes three. Their take on Monk’s ‘Rhythm-a-Ning’ uses the familiar off-kilter melody as a springboard for a blues-inflected wander. Consistently absorbing and inventive post-bop.