Review: Branford Marsalis Quartet at the Lobero Theatre

Publication: Santa Barbara Independent
Author: Charles Donelan
Date: May 8, 2014

“It’s going to get kind of funky tonight,” said Branford Marsalis upon taking the Lobero stage, adding, “and it’s going to be fun.” The artist and his current quartet delivered on both counts, as the group’s 100 minute set flew by, with each extended composition revealing another aspect of this consummate musician’s mastery. The opener, “The Mighty Sword” featured Marsalis on soprano sax, an instrument he wields with a combination of sophistication and power comparable to that of the late John Coltrane, an acknowledged inspiration for much of what this quartet does. Pianist Joey Calderazzo added plenty of funk to this otherwise straight-ahead post-bop blast off.

Three quarters of this extraordinarily cohesive band has been together for decades. The one relative newcomer, drummer Justin Faulkner, is an amazing find, and his playing throughout the night was a revelation. 

Whether he was providing soulful rhythmic support with his brushes to the heartache of a ballad, or slamming the toms to drive Marsalis on tenor sax into hyperspace, the results were always refreshing and in the pocket. Bassist Eric Revis flowed seamlessly within the pulse until bursting forth in a shower of strummed chords for the encore on something called “Blues Permutation.”

To read the rest of Mr. Donelan’s review, please visit the Santa Barbara Independent online. 
Submitted by Bobby on May 9th, 2014 — 01:21pm