CAMBRIDGE, MA: Legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his tight-knit working band will deliver Four MFs Playin’ Tunes on deluxe 180-gram high definition vinyl just in time for Record Store Day on April 21, 2012. This is the first recording of the Branford Marsalis Quartet with an electrifying young drummer who joined the band three years ago and the results are a nimble and sparkling album, featuring ambitious original compositions by members of the band, a Thelonious Monk classic, and one standard dating to 1930. The record blends the beautiful and subtle ballad sounds of the 2004 release Eternal with the ecstatic contrasts of the critically-acclaimed Braggtown. In other words, this just might be the Branford Marsalis Quartet’s most sublime musical achievement yet.
This is the first vinyl release from Marsalis Music, and the label is so excited to be able to offer something special to the folks who support independent music stores. Four MFs Playin’ Tunes will be available on compact disc and digitally on August 7, 2012. Vinyl purchases will come with a download card that enables purchasers to register to receive a free digital copy of the album on August 7.
On Four MFs Playin’ Tunes, the song takes center stage, with the band members bringing their considerable musical expertise to bear, as they focus on each tune as an important musical entity unto itself and not merely a vehicle for showcasing individual talent. Branford Marsalis elaborates: “We need to quit thinking of songs as vehicles and think of them as songs, and treat each with equality… What we are trying to do is to figure out the emotional purpose of each song we play and then play according to that purpose, as opposed to musicians who spend their time developing what they call a concept.”
Those sentiments are echoed unanimously by the group from the youngest and most recent member, drummer Justin Faulkner, who joined the band in 2009 and has been impressing audiences and critics alike during the band’s electric live performances, to core fixtures pianist Joey Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis. Asked to describe the challenge of his first recording session with the Quartet, Faulkner responds with a question, “What can we do to make each tune an actual song rather than just a bunch of notes on a page?”