Opening Night: An Evening with Branford Marsalis

Music Worcester's 2018-2019 Concert Season opens with the Branford Marsalis Quartet

Friday, October 19, 2018 - 8:00 pm - Mechanics Hall

 
 

Tickets

Table Seats (floor) $55
Adults (balcony) $35, $49, $55
Students & Youths (balcony only) $25

Reception (additional purchase) $25

*all price levels subject to fees*

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MUSIC WORCESTER OPENING NIGHT SEATING

The floor/orchestra section of Mechanics Hall will offer round table seating with 10 seats to a table at $55/seat. The balcony sections of Mechanics Hall will offer concert-style seating at a variety of price levels for adults. Students & Youths (18 or under) can purchase balcony seats to this performance at $25 each, or purchase table seats on the floor at the full adult price. 

Ticket buyers will also have the option to purchase an add-on ticket to a reception following the performance at $25 each on top of the cost of their purchased concert ticket. 

CLICK BELOW TO READ BIOS OF EACH MEMBER

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Growing up in the rich environment of New Orleans as the oldest son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Branford was drawn to music along with siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. His first instrument, the clarinet, gave way to the alto and then the tenor and soprano saxophones when the teenage Branford began working in local bands. A growing fascination with jazz as he entered college gave him the basic tools to obtain his first major jobs, with trumpet legend Clark Terry and alongside Wynton in Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers. When the brothers left to form the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, the world of uncompromising acoustic jazz was invigorated. Branford formed his own quartet in 1986 and, with a few minor interruptions in the early years, has sustained the unit as his primary means of expression. Known for the telepathic communication among its uncommonly consistent personnel, its deep book of original music replete with expressive melodies and provocative forms, and an unrivaled spirit in both live and recorded performances, the Branford Marsalis Quartet has long been recognized as the standard to which other ensembles of its kind must be measured. 

The Quartet rarely invites other musicians into the folds of their cohesive unit, but in December 2015, they were joined by guest-vocalist Kurt Elling for a weekend’s engagement at New Orleans’ Snug Harbor.  This culminated with three days in the studios of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music where, energized by the artistic promise of this collaboration, the musicians all contributed new arrangements to record with this special line-up.  The result can be heard on their June 2016 release, Upward Spiral.

Branford has not confined his music to the quartet context. In addition to guest turns with a legion of giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins, he has excelled in duets with several major pianists, including his boyhood friend Harry Connick, Jr. and the longtime pianist in his quartet, Joey Calderazzo. Branford’s first solo concert, at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, is documented on his latest recording, In My Solitude.

Classical music inhabits a growing portion of Branford’s musical universe. With a repertoire including works by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, Vaughan Williams, Villa‐Lobos and Sally Beamish (who reconceived a work in progress, “Under the Wing of the Rock,” to feature Branford’s saxophone after hearing him perform one of her earlier pieces), Branford is frequently heard with leading symphony orchestras including those in Chicago, Detroit, Dusseldorf and North Carolina as well as the New York Philharmonic. He also served as Creative Director for the Cincinnati Symphony’s Ascent series in 2012‐13. 

Broadway has also welcomed Branford’s contributions. His initial effort, original music for a revival of August Wilson’s Fences, garnered a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play and a Tony nomination for Best Original Score Written for the Theater. Branford also provided music for The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, and served as musical curator for the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Branford’s screen credits include the original music for Mo’ Better Blues and acting roles in School Daze and Throw Momma from the Train. 

Branford formed the Marsalis Music label in 2002, and under his direction it has documented his own music, talented new stars such as Miguel Zenon, and un-heralded older masters including one of Branford’s teachers, the late Alvin Batiste. Branford has also shared his knowledge as an educator, forming extended teaching relationships at Michigan State, San Francisco State and North Carolina Central Universities and conducting workshops at sites throughout the United States and the world.

As for other public stages, Branford spent a period touring with Sting, collaborated with the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby, served as Musical Director of The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno and hosted National Public Radio’s widely syndicated Jazz Set. The range and quality of these diverse activities established Branford as a familiar presence beyond the worlds of jazz and classical music, while his efforts to help heal and rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina mark him as an artist with an uncommonly effective social vision. Together with Harry Connick, Jr. and New Orleans Habitat for Humanity, Branford conceived and helped to realize The Musicians Village, a community in the Upper Ninth Ward that provides homes to the displaced families of musicians and other local residents. At the heart of The Musicians Village stands the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a community center dedicated to preserving the rich New Orleans musical legacy containing state‐of‐the art spaces for performance, instruction and recording. 

Some might gauge Branford Marsalis’s success by his numerous awards, including three Grammys and (together with his father and brothers) his citation as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. To Branford, however, these are only way stations along what continues to be one of the most fascinating and rewarding journeys in the world of music.

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Justin Faulkner constantly performs in the Philadelphia area with some of the world's best known artists.

He studies classical music with Sam Ruttenburg at the Settlement Music School and is trained in jazz at the Kimmel Center and Clef Club on the Avenue of the Arts. He plays regularly at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts with the Youth Jazz Ensemble. He is also the current premier and house drummer for the Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts.

In addition to performance, he is seen playing every Sunday at the West Park Church in Philadelphia, PA.

He currently plays with the J Tyme Experience which is his own personal group, Terrence Brown Quartet, Will Wright Quartet, Rohm and Hass Jazz Ensemble, the Orrin Evans Trio, the Paul Sipio Sextet and various other groups. He has been mentored by many musicians such as: Daren Metz, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Dennis Chambers, Shawn Pelton, Christian McBride.

He has performed with Odean Pope, Tyrone Brown, Aaron Graves, Ella Gahnt, Peter Nero, Bootise Barnes, Jimmy Heath, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Yoichi Uzeki, Ravi Coltrane , Julian Presley , Orrin Evans featuring the group Luv Park, Mike Boone, Sam Reed, Craig McIver, Tony Williams, Sherry Wilson Butler, Denise King, Victor Wooten and Royel “Future Man” Wooten, Eric Lewis, Duane Eubanks, Lee Smith, Bobby McFerrin, Tim Warfield, and James Moody, Eric Revis, JD Walter, Jafar Barron, Farid Barron, among others.

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A native of New Rochelle, New York, Calderazzo first became inspired to take up piano by a musical next-door neighbor and began his classical studies at age six. Improvisation came naturally even then; long before he began any formal jazz training, the young pianist was making up his own variations on Mozart.

Fueled by his growing interest in artists like McCoy Tyner and John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, Calderazzo visited friends at Berklee College of Music, growing close with then students Branford Marsalis, Wallace Roney, Donald Harrison, and Jeff “Tain” Watts.

After dropping out of Long Island University, Calderazzo earned his big break came after meeting and jamming with legendary saxophonist Michael Brecker at a clinic. Brecker was deeply impressed by the young pianist and offered him the piano chair in his touring quintet after Kenny Kirkland left the group in 1987. Just over ten years later, Calderazzo joined the Branford Marsalis Quartet, replacing Kirkland a second time after the pianist’s untimely passing.

Calderazzo’s work has been just as notable in the studio as on stages around the world. He recorded three albums for Blue Note Records in the early 1990s, In The DoorTo Know One, and The Traveler, also releasing Secrets on Audioquest and Joey Calderazzo on Columbia Records before signing to Branford’s Marsalis Music record label in 2002; working with the company, he released Haiku and Amanecer in 2003 and 2007 respectively. Calderazzo’s co-leader credits include 2011’s duo with Marsalis, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy. Calderazzo’s Sunnyside debut was 2013’s Live, a trio recording featuring Le Fleming and drummer Donald Edwards. His diverse sideman recording credits include the likes of Arturo Sandoval, Bob Mitzner, Bob Belden, Vincent Herring, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, and Jerry Bergonzi — as well as Marsalis and Brecker.

With firm roots planted in North Carolina, Calderazzo currently splits his professional time between teaching as an adjunct professor at North Carolina Central University, working with Marsalis and company, and pushing his own trio art to new heights.

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One of the most talented and accomplished musicians of his generation, Grammy Award-winning bassist and composer Eric Revis has, over the past 15 years, become an important voice in jazz. Branford Marsalis states, “Eric’s sound is the sound of doom; big, thick, percussive.” Scores of musicians across various disciplines agree.  Revis has performed and recorded with Betty Carter, Peter Brotzmann, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Steve Coleman, Ralph Peterson, Lionel Hampton, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Cyrille, and Tarbaby (the experimental trio he tri-leads with Orrin Evans and Nasheet Waits).

Manning the bass chair with Branford Marsalis’ powerfully flexible quartet since 1997, Revis has also recorded four brilliant albums as a leader.  2004’s Tales of the Stuttering Mime and 2009’s Laughter’s Necklace of Tearshave both revealed his startling range as a musician and composer. Informed by his past but not tethered to it, a glimpse into the musical trajectory of this artist is indelibly clear on his latest release Parallax (Clean Feed ) and the soon to be released City of Asylum (Clean Feed).

Tales of the Stuttering Mime was an amalgam of songs I’d been composing for quite some time,” Revis explains. “Being that there were a lot of different influences at play, it required that I use various band configurations on almost every tune, which was great in that I had a very real connection to all of the musicians involved.” With Laughter’s Necklace of Tears the same conceptual construct was in place in terms of the confluence of musical influences, but the goal was to present it in a more cohesive fashion in terms of having one group navigate the songs for the record as opposed to five or six”.

Conceptually improvisational and thematically broad, Parallax (Clean Feed) is timeless and borderless. The albums’ approach is one of inclusion, extrapolation and exploration. Joined by Jason Moran, Ken Vandermark and Nasheet Waits, it is a true document of Revis’ growth as a composer, bassist and sounding board. As on previous recordings, Revis’ playing is personal and distinctive: his tone deep and woody, his execution, agile, melodic and clear. A musical polyglot, Revis is comfortable in any setting, any direction. His skills as a band leader and composer are equally profound and inspiring.

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