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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


This CD is the long-awaited follow-up to jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis's 1986 debut, Romances for Saxophone with the English Chamber conducted by Andrew Litton. Since that project, Marsalis has led his own jazz combos and worked with The Grateful Dead and Sting. On this recording, Marsalis's superb soprano and alto sax are buoyed by the wonderful, conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble that was featured on Herbie Hancock's Gershwin's World. Marsalis's clear sound and mature phrasing imbue French classics like Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante défunte," Debussy's ragtime-rhythmed "Golliwogg's Cake-Walk," and Fauré's "Pie Jesu" with verve and vitality. Marsalis navigates the New World syncopations of Darius Milhaud's "Saudades do Brasil" with the same ease he displays on the composer's jazz-inspired ballet, "La création du monde." On Jacques Ibert's showcase for the alto saxophone, "Concertino da camera," Marsalis's negotiation of its florid melody and his swing-spiced cadenza show that the innovations of jazz improvisation have enriched and extended the classical tradition. --Eugene Holley Jr.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Gymnopédie No. 3Branford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 2:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. The Little Shepherd from Children's Corner SuiteBranford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 2:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Pavane pour une infante défunteBranford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 6:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. La Création du monde, Op. 81Branford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra17:23Album Only
listen  5. Pie Jesu from Requiem, Op. 48Branford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 3:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Sorocaba (Saudades do Brasil No. 1), Op. 67Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 1:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. I. VifBranford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 3:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Scaramouche, Suite for Saxophone and Orchestra, Op. 165c: II. ModéréBranford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 5:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Scaramouche, Suite for Saxophone and Orchestra, Op. 165c: III. BrazileiraBranford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 2:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Corcovado (Saudades do Brasil No. 7), Op. 67Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Sumaré (Saudades do Brasil No. 9), Op. 67Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 1:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Concertino da camera for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra: I. Allegro con motoBranford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 4:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. II. LarghettoBranford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. III. Animato moltoBranford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 6:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Laranjeiras (Saudades do Brasil No. 11), Op. 67Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 1:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Golliwogg's Cake-Walk from Children's Corner SuiteBranford Marsalis;Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 6, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00005A8I4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,466 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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World-renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis, born in 1960, has always been a man of numerous musical interests. The three-time Grammy winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world's most promising new and ... Read more in Amazon's Branford Marsalis Store

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Fred McGhee on October 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
"Creation" is probably the best word one could choose for this fine effort. This is an interesting recording, one that mostly excels, but also has some shortcomings.

Branford's playing is a lot of things here, studied, practiced, prepared, thorough, and strong. It could have been more sensitive and collaborative. This is not something that necessarily need be laid at his door; it could be a "group" thing as much as anything. Other reviewers have noted that ensemble players often have difficulty working within an orchestra setting, and that the presence of a conductor could have kept things in check.

But that was not the point of this effort. If Orpheus and Branford had wanted a conductor they would have hired one. So one must use a more nuanced and blended yardstick to measure this . The compositions themselves clearly have a strong jazz influence, so the conceptual approach of the players is not only entirely appropriate but interesting. And that's what in the end separates jazz music from classical music. You may not like what people play or the way they play it, but at least it's not the same old stale sh-t. Branford's history of exploring a variety of musical stylings comes in well here; I appreciate his playfulness and almost joyful approach to some of these pieces. That's the way I think they ought to be played.

Highly Recommended.
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36 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Christopher Coleman on April 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Saxophonist Branford Marsalis comes from a family of Louisiana musicians--his father, Ellis, is an important jazz pianist and professor of Music at the University of New Orleans, and his more well-known younger brother, Winton, has achieved much acclaim as a trumpeter in both jazz and classical worlds and as a composer of significance. Branford is probably most well-known to American audiences as the leader of the Tonight Show orchestra, and while jazz is certainly his greatest interest he has worked with rock musicians Sting and the Grateful Dead, among others. In this CD, Creation, he expands his horizons to include french art music of the late 19th and early 20th century, performing transcriptions and originals of pieces by Faure, Satie, Debussy, Ravel, Milhaud, and Ibert. One qualm I have is that the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, one of the finest chamber ensembles in America, is scarcely given a chance as an equal partner. Darius Milhaud's La Création du Monde is NOT a saxophone concerto, and although the first time I heard this interpretation I was intrigued, by the second listening I found the forward presence of the sax inappropriately overwhelming, especially in passages like the fugato.
Marsalis is a fine saxophonist, but frankly, there are better. His vibrato, so often the factor that leads saxophonists astray, is well-controlled, but his tone quality is a bit thin. Whether this is because he has crossed over to literature that is less familiar to him I am not sure, or perhaps he is more accustomed to performing with amplification and various processing. Nonetheless, these are generally fine performances, and I`d much rather listen to this than Kenny G's trivia. Tempi are appropriate, wonderfully brisk at times, and the musical selection is interesting.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on February 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
A few years back, I remember hearing Branford Marsalis interviewed as part of an intermission feature of a broadcast from, the Metropolitan Opera. He was speaking about the one opera that made him fall in love with the musical form. Most people who fall in love with opera usually name a work such as LA BOHEME or RIGOLETTO as a first love, but for Marsalis the choice was TRISTAN UND ISOLDE. As he began stating his reasons for choosing one of Wagner's monumental and challenging works, he began discussing the composer's intricacies of the vocal and orchestral components and the originality of the work. It was obvious we were hearing a musician's musician speak. Marsalis has the same appreciation for what a composer intends in this collection of early twentieth century French compositions and just like the interview, demonstrates that he is a musicians' musician.

CREATION is a collection of early twentieth century works arranged for saxophone and orchestra. Marsalis is joined by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for arrangements that are original yet also respect the intention of the composers. Overall CREATION is a great relaxation disc, with the exception of some of the Milhaud pieces (the arrangement of LA CREATION DU MONDE is perhaps the one piece that makes this collection of what could be termed background music somewhat startling). Our local classical music radio station often plays some of the pieces from this collection and calls the pieces "tracks to relax." The selections are varied from Debussy, Satie, Ravel and Faure to the more experimental sounds of Darius Milhaud. The choice of selections shows the variety of the music and in many ways shows that the line between classical and jazz in the twentieth century is not always as fixed as it seems.

This collection provides great musical entertainment and offers some interesting interpretations of great music that's certain to be enjoyed by many.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tara Steele on August 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you're a Branford Marsalis fan, you'll be on the edge of your seat 4 seconds into the opening cut. Imagine his exquisitely clear alto sax intoning the melody of Satie's Gymnopedie. And with Orpheus's incredible group energy (it's an orchestra whose members conduct themselves) and you'll understand.
I thought it would be wonderful background as I sat working at my computer -- it's so incredible it's distracting. Savor this.
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