Branford Marsalis at the Barbican: A Night to Remember

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A Man of Many Talents

Branford Marsalis, an award-winning saxophonist, composer, and jazz educator, has a broad repertoire that includes the music of Debussy, Stravinsky, and Duke Ellington. On July 12, 2023, Marsalis showcased his vast array of influences in a captivating concert titled “An Evening with Branford Marsalis” at the Barbican Hall as part of the 2023 EFG London Jazz Festival Summer Series. The quartet dedicated their performance to the late John Cumming, founder of the London Jazz Festival.

The Quartet

Accompanying Marsalis on stage were drummer Justin Faulkner, pianist Joey Calderazzo, and double bassist Eric Revis. Their eclectic performance included a variety of compositions, from high-energy tunes to laid-back blues numbers.

Starting with a Bang

The ensemble opened the concert with Calderazzo’s lively piece “The Mighty Sword,” taken from their 2012 recording “Four MFs Playing Tunes.” The energetic performance vividly evoked imagery of a dirt biker descending a rocky slope at breakneck speed.

Paying Tribute to Keith Jarrett

In their rendition of Keith Jarrett’s “Long as you are living yours” (from the 1974 “Belonging” album), the quartet showcased their ability to capture the song’s bluesy essence, featuring heartfelt solos from both Marsalis and Calderazzo. Over the years, Marsalis has maintained a deep appreciation for Jarrett’s artistry, skillfully incorporating his influence into his own music.

An Emotional Journey

The quartet’s performances of Jarrett’s lesser-known composition “Rose Petals” (from Marsalis’s 1990 album “Crazy People Music”) and “A Thousand Autumns” (from the 1996 piano-free album “The Dark Keys”) captured the audience with their emotional intensity, highlighting the group’s exquisite musicianship.

Reviving a Classic

Breathing new life into the 1928 classic “There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s Worth the Salt of My Tears,” the quartet showcased Marsalis’s ability to evoke the spirit of legendary musicians like Frankie Trumbauer.

A Stellar Encore

The concert concluded with spirited performances of Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” Vocalist Cleveland Watkiss joined the stage for the latter number, displaying his scat singing talents while Julian Joseph took over the piano from Calderazzo, providing a fitting end to a delightful July evening in the City of London.

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About Me

I’m Dr. Miles Beaumont from the charming town of York in the UK. I’ve spent over three decades as a medical doctor, helping people and contributing to important research. I graduated from Oxford University, and ever since, I’ve devoted myself to improving the health and lives of others.

When I’m not practicing medicine, you’ll find me soaking up the world of jazz music. It’s been a passion of mine since I turned 30, and I’ve been an active part of York’s jazz scene ever since. Whether it’s going to local gigs, listening to records at home, or just enjoying the rhythmic and improvisational magic of jazz, it’s a big part of who I am.