Saturday, February 02, 2008

On Hearing Branford Marsalis

That man is strapped inside his saxophone.
Not trapped, but lost and loving it
within a playground (and battleground) of sound.

Notes with everywhere good to go,
many routes to myraid delights.

Outside, notes play over us and play with us.
No downside to this man
strapped inside his saxophone home.


Tom Hinkle said...

Recently, while the writer's strike forced late-night talk shows to show reruns (and I know you don't watch TV anyway, Doug, but stay with me here) they showed some old Jay Leno Tonight Shows when Branford was the bandleader. The little bit of music I got to hear was much more interesting and less, should I say, bombastic than the band under the current leader, Kevin Eubanks.

I'm mainly a rock guy, but I dabble in Jazz (Miles, Coltrane, Coleman, Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins, and Brubeck are part of my collection.) I don't have anything of Branford's. What would be your suggestion as a good starting point (CD) to get into Branford?

Doug Groothuis said...


"Braggtown" is an excellent acoustic quartet recording.

David Strunk said...

Dr. G,

I assume he's one of the Marsalis brothers?

I was in a trombone choir in college- it was mainly classical and baroque, but the teachers true love was jazz. One time, he brought one of his friends, Delfayo (sp?) Marsalis and we got to play with him and have a tutorial. He also played of course. It was glorious. Delfayo is the trombone playing brother of course.

Truly, those guys have it in their genes I think (as well as probably 14-15 hours of practice a day). But they just know how to feel it. That was one of the key lessons he taught us that day.

Jim Pemberton said...

"Feel it" is a close idiom. When you learn to type, you have to think about each keystroke. When you know how to type, you think about the words and your fingers glide across the keys without much thought.

I don't sight read written piano music very well. I can't seem to process the calculations for the fingerings quickly enough. However, I can analyze and synthesize chord progressions and produce music beyond what is written without much thought as to what my fingers are actually doing.

I imagine musicians like the Marsalis brothers do much the same thing. Individual notes become subliminal and what the musician intends to convey becomes the focus. It's a bit sophomoric to say that a musician such as Branford becomes one with his axe. When the axe lives in the mind of the musician, the musician lives inside his axe.

Likewise, we who live in the mind of the Father will find Christ living in our minds. We will not focus on the minutia of righteousness, but when we focus on our Lord and what He wants to communicate through us, we will be righteous.