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08/26/2010

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lilash

Agreed! The songs you named are among my favorites too.

thesis writing

Agreed! The songs you named are among my favorites too

John Gizis

Just a jazz fan, but I think Requiem is one of the very best jazz recordings of the 1990s, and I've always liked I Heard You Twice the First Time and The Dark Keys.

Vikram Devasthali

I've never been the biggest Branford fan, but I'll tell you this: there are few moments in the last 20 years of recorded jazz more bracing than the opening of "Doctone", and there isn't a jazz musician I know who doesn't sing along when Branford's solo starts.

On a personal note, I am indebted to Branford for leading me to Keith Jarrett's American Quartet by way of his beautiful performance of Paul Motian's "Trieste". Thanks, and happy birthday!

Chris H

I saw Branford's Quartet @ the NJPAC on a double bill with Josh Redman's group right around the time Braggtown (I think) came out it was definitely one of the most intense and pleasurable live music experiences I've ever had. I hesitate to say this @ the risk of sounding blasphemous, but the power and beauty of that band kept making me think of Coletrane's Classic Quartet.

Rob Wilkerson

Nate, you eloquently comment on Branford as a bandleader in the post. I'm just testifying.

Rob Wilkerson

Really great birthday tribute.

Although Sam and I have never really talked about Branford, his comments do not surprise me. I think that many of the musicians on the scene today agree on the impact that Branford has had on the saxophone.

I would add that he's also had a huge impact on the concept of a "band." In so many of his interviews he spends a lion share of his time talking about his groups and how they deal with listening, energy, etc ... It's refreshing to hear from someone that's not afraid to be a leader.

As far as Bloomingtom vs. Dark Keys, that's a tough one. It sounds like we all have a similar soft spot for Bloomington based on when we became aware of it.
I can certainly say that the things that Branford feels comfortable playing on The Dark Keys (in a studio!!) is pretty daunting.

Nate Chinen

Thanks for weighing in, Sam! I'm with you on the general excellentness of Bloomington. If you were to dig up my high school yearbook, you'd find my senior quote, which I borrowed from Branford's stage banter on that album: "Hope we don't confuse y'all too much." I thought it was funny, not pretentious. (It was both.)

Thus confessed, though, I suppose I should drop his little brother Jason a line; I hear they're accepting applications for a certain extracurricular club.

While we're on the subject -- of Branford trio records, folks, not my high-school jazzgeekery -- what about The Dark Keys? Better than Bloomington, no? More generally cohesive, at the very least.

Sam Sadigursky

Thanks for the round-up. Branford is indeed one of the greatest voices on the saxophone today. It's easy to associate him with the young lion movement or the politics having to do with certain members of his family, but when it comes down to it, he is one of the most free thinking and true improvisers this music has. To me, the most affecting and mature demonstration of his artistry is on his live trio record "Bloomington", which goes in the rare pantheon of great saxophone trio recordings and still sets the new standard to my ears. There are songs on there that I could listen to over and over (and have indeed done so!), that really are just pure magic. He's among the first post-Coltrane saxophonists to reach back further in the tradition and really integrate some of the other and often earlier tenor voices into his playing (people like Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Rouse, and particularly Sonny Rollins) , which has thankfully become more and more the norm in the last 20 years, but was far from the case when he arrived on the scene. His influence is certainly profound, and I hope that he continues in the independent and often outspoken direction that has made him such a great artist to follow. He speaks his mind both as a person and a player, something that we should all celebrate.

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