Saturday, June 13, 2009

Branford Marsalis & Justin Faulkner - Listen

Branford Marsalis, sax player from the famous New Orleans music family, recently added 18yo drummer Justin Faulkner to his Quartet. Bob Blumenthal's interview with the two on Friday night was one of the most satisfying I've experienced.

Relaxed, as Bob works for Branford's label Marsalis Music, Branford related wisdom of the hard working musician, including: It ain't bragging if you can do it, it's just not as annoying.

And; All great music requires imitation.

He derided musicians who are technically adept but who didn't listen to other players and hence didn't actually make music. Jazz education programs came under particularly harsh scrutiny for not telling their students to listen to the recorded history of jazz. Branford was insistent on players of all levels to listen. Justin was hired to fill the shoes of Jeff "Tain" Watts because he had a left hand, i.e., used it, had something to say with it, because he had the personality to survive & thrive in the tough jazz world and because he had listened to great recorded jazz all his life, all 18 years of it.

Not a new concept, but one rarely practiced these days. It reminds me of George Russell's classic New York, New York session where vocalist Jon Hendrick's introduction includes his one word poem: Listen.

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