LIVE: Branford Marsalis (Duo & Quartet) @ Proctors, 2/3/12

February 9th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
Branford Marsalis

Branford Marsalis

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

I hadn’t known this was an issue until it was pointed out to me by a musician whose opinion (and playing) I deeply respect. Essentially, it boils down to a very simple question: What is the deal with Branford Marsalis when he plays tenor saxophone? When Marsalis plays soprano sax, he is the epitome of precision and expression; however, when he plays tenor he just… well… honks. I closely observed this situation over two sets at Proctors last Friday night. (Well, one-and-a-half sets, if we’re going to be accurate.)

Read the rest of this entry »


LIVE: The Philadelphia Orchestra & Branford Marsalis @ SPAC, 8/10/11

August 18th, 2011, 4:30 pm by Greg

Harold Robinson and Branford Marsalis

Harold Robinson and Branford Marsalis

Pairing classical music with jazz in performance is certainly nothing new in the music world, but inviting jazz saxophone monster Branford Marsalis as the special guest to collaborate with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center last week was something deliciously fresh to experience.

In the evening’s program Marsalis tackled two modern concertos under the baton of 41-year-old guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, the music director of the Nashville Symphony.

Debussy’s delicate “Prelude to the afternoon of a Faun” started the ball rolling for the evening. Guerrero’s impassioned leadership coaxed a near-perfect rendition from the orchestra, as did selections from Bizet’s “Carmen,” including the widely popular “Bohemian Dance.”

With the advent of contemporary composer John William’s “Escapades, for alto saxophone and orchestra,” from the film score of Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can,” vibraphonist Chris Deviney and double bassist Hal Robinson moved to the front of the stage, creating a jazz nucleus within the greater orchestra.

Read the rest of this entry »

Win FREE TIX to See Branford Marsalis & the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC on Wednesday

August 8th, 2011, 11:04 am by Greg
Branford Marsalis

Branford Marsalis

Although master saxophonist Branford Marsalis is best known as a world renowned jazz musician, composer and educator, he’s nothing if not versatile – having played with such diverse musicians as Sting, Public Enemy and the Dead.

But he’s also quite an accomplished classical saxophonist, as he’ll prove on Wednesday night at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center when he joins the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. The program will feature Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” Bizet’s “Suite from Carmen,” Williams’ “Escapades for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, Ravel’s “Bolero” and “Rapsodie Espagnole,” as well as Milhaud’s “Scaramouche Suite for Saxophone and Orchestra.” The concert gets underway at 8pm.

Reserved amphitheater seats are currently on sale for $31, $41.50, $49.50, $65.50 and $72.50; general admission lawn tix are $20. And kids 12 and under are admitted free on the lawn.

BUT WAIT A MINUTE… We’ve got a pair of FREE LAWN TICKETS to give away to Wednesday night’s concert to a lucky Nippertown reader! To enter the contest, just post a comment below. Please leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. The winners will be selected at random and notified on Wednesday morning. Good luck! Congratulations, LP!

Cartoonist John CaldwellJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCaffe LenaThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantHolly & EvanAdvertise on Nippertown!Artist Charles HaymesRamblin Jug Stompers