Publication: Cahl’s Juke Joint: A rock, blues and jazz blog
Author: Carl Abernathy
Branford Marsalis dedicated his latest album, “Metamorphosen,” to a host of musicians who recently died. Certainly songs such “And Then He Was Gone and “The Last Goodbye” serve as touching tributes.
You also can hear the influence of his friends and mentors on almost every song. And that makes for an eclectic and endearing mix.
I hear echoes of Dewey Redman, Michael Brecker and Andrew Hill in “The Return of the Jitney Man” “Sphere” and “Abe Vigoda.” I think of Frank Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and Duke Jordan when I listen to the contemplative “The Blossom of Parting.” The imprints of Oscar Peterson, Max Roach, David “Fathead” Newman Israel “Cahcao” Lopez, Alvin Batiste and the others are all over the album, too.
Marsalis, playing a variety of saxophones, is both subtle and playful. Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Jeff “Tain” Watts navigate the varied styles wonderfully, too.
At times, “Metamorphosen” is strikingly lovely. At others it’s wild and unpredictable. As a result, it’s probably one of Marsalis’ finest albums.