Wednesday, March 20

Branford Marsalis Wows Fans at St. Louis' Sheldon Concert Hall

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While most St. Louisans, along with the rest of the nation, we’re glued to the screen to see the outcome of the Giants-vs.-Forty-niners football game, TRUE Jazz Lovers went to The Sheldon Concert Hall to take in the Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo duet performance!

 The performances toggled back and forth between slow selections and up-tempo ones. The second was a very Ragtime-like, bluesy piece called “One Way”, with Joey doing a bass rhythm different from Ragtime’s octave bouncing. Branford’s tenor sax really had a lot of fun on this song!  

Between songs, Joey and Branford kept tabs on the football game via Joey’s iPhone, announcing the scores to the audience; it was funny, but everyone was very glad to be kept up to date.  The majority of the audience appeared to be on Joey’s side, as he rooted for the San Francisco 49ers. Branford jokingly voiced his agitated curiosity, saying, “I never realized San Francisco and St. Louis were so close” (this was when the game was tied at 17-17 for a long time)!  

Near the end of the show, Joey approached the stage microphone, and before he began to speak, he noticed their friend, pianist Peter Martin sitting in the audience, and the audience welcomed him with applause.

Joey continued to introduce the next song with a very heartfelt account of his time playing with, the late saxophonist, Michael Brecker. Joey spent time with him in his final days when he was taking ill, mentioning that he did finally pass on (in January of 2007) due to severe illness, and it moved Joey to write this song… He went on to say he has always “been terrible with coming up with titles for his own songs”, and that he was all too glad to accept Branford’s titling it, “Hope”. It was a very slow inspirational song.

The duo gave a surprise ending to the show by asking their friend, Peter Martin, to come up and play! They had a little discussion as Joey took the same (no doubt, warm) audience seat, and Peter pounded out to chords to a standard that Branford has practically made his own… “Swingin’ At The Haven”! What an icing-of-the-cake-(WITH the cherry on top)-ending to a great acoustic concert!

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About Author

Kim Betton is the founder and editorial director of SmoothJazzTimes.com. The award winning television anchor/reporter and producer has worked in markets across the U.S.. including NBC4 & USA Sky Radio in Washington, DC, WBKW-TV Buffalo, New York, FOX 13 News Memphis and KARK4 / FOX 16 News in Little Rock,. Kim has a true love for good music! She is also a jazz and off-Broadway musical vocalist. Her love for music and the arts inspired her to launch this magazine. If you have a story idea email her at kim@smoothjazztimes.com. Thanks for checking us out! Enjoy!

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