Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Branford Marsalis: The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul

Branford Marsalis
The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul (Okeh, 2019)

Branford Marsalis (sax) 
Joey Calderazzo (piano)
Justin Faulkner (drums)
Eric Revis (bass)

With The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul, Branford and company start firing on all cylinders immediately via the Revis penned "Dance of the Evil Toys." It's raucous and fun. Calderazzo and Faulkner fly alongside Marsalis with brilliance as they provide a discordant but beautiful stretch of improvising that never lets up until the closing note.

Marsalis' only written number for the album, "Life Filtering from the Water Flowers" begins as if you were opening a vault that leads to a dampened chamber. Calderazzo's notes are calm and joyful leading the group into some great interplay between Marsalis, Faulkner, and Revis that travels throughout the remainder of the piece. 

The Secret Between.. also includes covers of Andrew Hill's "Snake Hip Waltz" and Kieth Jarrett's "The Windup." Both are excellent interpretations and wonderful additions to Marsalis' catalog. "The Windup" closes out the album in the brusque fashion that it began. 

The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul continues to show how the Branford Marsalis Quartet continues to stand high and above of many other jazz groups over the years. The versatility of their writing and precision of their performances is yet again why the group and leader seem to get better every year with every record. Enjoy...