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Branford Marsalis, Eternal

blue lake

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Picked it up this afternoon and just finished listening. Very nice album, "Gloomy Sunday" is very nice as is "The Lonely Swan". Last all ballad album I listened to was Michael Brecker's "The Nearness of You" and to be honest, after holding on to it for a year and a half maybe I sold it, b/c from all concerned, it was just too sleepy for me. Even though I love guys like Metheny, Herbie and DeJohnette.

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From Branford Marsalis (via his forum):

" “Ruby and the Pearl” is from listening to the salsa and afro-cuban trumpet players over the years. “Gloomy Sunday” is Sonny Rollins. No, I don't sound like Sonny, nor am I using his licks. But the logic I stole from Newk. Start the solo with one note, then let a few beats of silence pass. Drop a funky line here or there. Things like that. “Dinner for One...” is Ben [Webster], with smatterings of some ideas I stole from Hawk's version of that song on a CD called Body and Soul. “Reika” is Wayne [shorter] logic, as is “Muldoon.” In “Reika,” one of the ways I decided to create tension is with the complete absense of vibrato on the whole song. In most of “Muldoon” I approach the melody with the same technique. Wayne employed that one a lot in the Weather Report years. Now, when I was preparing for the songs, I didn't make these choices (save the shit on “Rekia”) before hand. But after I play something, when I hear it I know where I got it from. I just don't try to mimic. Much like the shit I stole from my parents as i grow up, it comes out sounding like me. At least I hope so.

"One of the advantages of listening to the old shit is learning the techniques the had that we no longer employ. Tain, thanks to Smitty, spent a lot of time working on his brush technique. Many drummers, most I hear, can't play brushes for shit. I think it's because they've not even tried to concentrate on it. Kenny Clark was stuck in LaGuardia airport in NYC in the 80's, so Tain invited him to stay in his apartment. He stayed for 3 days and taught him, and any drummer in the area who was interested, a bunch of shit. There are a lot of cats playing who are either afraid of, or not interested in the tradition. Either way, they lose.

"To add to it, Tain also played multiple percussion in the orchestra at Duquesne University. Much of what he plays is orchestrated. Little things that many people might not notice, like the slap of the brush at the end of a chours in “Gloomy Sunday.” Or the stop time technique associated with early jazz transferred to brushes. The use of cymbals to suspend the time into the bridge of “Eternal.” In order to play that way, you have to think of the song as a whole structure, as opposed to number of bars or changes. It's a classical mentality.

"Another great point for me on “Eternal” (the song) was Joey's "taking one for the team.” When one is focused on his solo first and foremost, there has to be a climax on every solo. Might be good for the player, but it's real fucked up for the song. McCoy did it all the time to great effect. He got to his shit but left the climax for Trane. In “Eternal,” Joey plays a solo that is completely understated and beautiful, but takes one for the team to let the song build on its own terms. "

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  • 3 weeks later...

Anyone know if this will be released on LP? Most of BM's albums are available on LP and I seem to recall an interview (Stereophile?) where he mentioned it was in his contract at the time.

I never heard of a Lp release from the Marsalis Music catalog.

BTW, the CD sound is very good.

Edited by Alfred
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  • 2 weeks later...

This is great!!! Bought it yesterday, had great expectations and they are not disappointed. Excellent ballad album, one of the top picks of the year. He develops some real depth here.

If only the tickets for his upcoming Frankfurt concert were not sooo expensive - 50 EUROs for a decent seat! <_<

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