Branford Marsalis: Sidney in Da Haus


Sidney in Da Haus


Branford Marsalis (soprano sax)


I Heard You Twice the First Time (Columbia 46083)

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Branford Marsalis (soprano sax), Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Wessell Anderson (alto saxophone), Robert Hurst (bass), Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums),

David Sagher (trombone),


Composed by Branford Marsalis


Recorded: Multiple locations, no date given (CD released in 1992)


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

The Sidney of the title is Sidney Bechet, the Creole clarinet (and soprano sax) master of early New Orleans jazz. Usually Branford's brother is the Marsalis sibling who plays the role of jazz museum curator, but perhaps Wynton's presence as a sideman here inspired this historically-charged performance. You probably already know that Branford Marsalis can construct thematic improvisations like Rollins or unleash modal assaults like 'Trane, but what about his Bechet bag on soprano sax? His breaks on this track are pure New Orleans, delivered with a coy "gosh, look at me" attitude that is quite endearing, and Branford follows with four picture-perfect blues choruses. Then the trumpeter in the family steps to the forefront and offers his own forceful history lesson. Only one track on I Heard You Twice the First Time features this outstanding band. 'Tis pity. I'm sure I'm not the only jazz fan who is disappointed that Wynton and Branford don't record together more often, and this track reminds me of the sparks that fly when the orbits of these two stars coincide. Oh . . . and don't miss out the New-Orleans-counterpoint-on-steroids in the opening and closing sections.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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