Branford Marsalis’s artistic double life continues. On the one hand, he’s furthered his professional (and financial) prospects with his highly visible stint as the leader of the Tonight Show band, his 1980s work with Sting, and his own funk-infused Buckshot Lefonque project. On the other, he’s continued to make remarkable, challenging jazz albums that, like his previous trio effort The Dark Keys, have barely registered on the mainstream radar. Requiem, with pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Jeff Watts, deserves to be the album that breaks the mold and finally gains Marsalis more recognition for what he does best. Consisting of eight Marsalis originals and a version of composer-drummer Paul Motian‘s “Trieste,” this CD is contemporary jazz at its best, at once challenging, creative, and accessible by virtue of Marsalis’s immensely melodic playing.
It’s also, tragically, the last recorded glimpse of Kirkland, who died soon after the album was completed. Requiem is enough to make listeners miss the pianist, even more, like his playing, from some lightning-fast exploratory soloing on “Lykief” to funky rhythmic comping on “Bullworth,” is always deliciously thick and instantly recognizable. Marsalis is in top form throughout, his tenor playing on “Doctone” and his gorgeous soprano work on “Trieste” serving as reminders that he’s still one of the top saxophonists around, and his compositions, especially the ballad “Cassandra” and the intriguing “Elysium,” are delightfully original. ~Editorial Reviews | Amazon
Original Release Date: February 1993
Take this live set “BLOOMING” by Brandford Marsalis Trio for a spin.