Jazz cd review

BRANFORD MARSALIS | Contemporary Jazz
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BRANFORD MARSALIS | Contemporary Jazz (Columbia)

BRANFORD MARSALIS | Contemporary Jazz (Columbia)

The title may have been an unwise choice, as there's nothing here that wouldn't have sounded contemporary 40 years ago, when fellow tenor saxophonists John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins were doing it the first time round. Reinforcing the jazz adage that you can't really separate how well someone plays from what they play, Marsalis huffs and puffs - and on the slower selections, emotes breathily - but he resolutely fails to bring the house down. The album is nicely recorded, and the band of Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, offers impeccable support (although support is what it is; they're not allowed to intrude too much), but however brilliantly Marsalis plays, you remain aware that it's been done better before. Heard live in a club, it would be fine. On record, and with that title, it's all a bit bathetic.

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