Top positive review
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Stellar Compositions and Performance
on March 22, 2009
Listening to the Branford Marsalis Quartet's Metamorphosen is an experience that leaves me stunned by the beauty and complexity of both their composition and performance skills. This is a wonderful example of jazz that is musically tight yet expressive and improvisational. The interplay of the four musicians is spectacular with first one and then another or two at a time seamlessly taking the lead or all four playing in perfect synchronization. This is a virtuoso performance by an experienced quartet with each performer clearly a star in his own right.
Compositionally as well this is a collaborative effort with Branford Marsalis himself contributing only the single composition Jaberwocky, which features him on alto sax. Instead this recording features two or three compositions from each of the other members plus Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-a-ning for a total of nine tracks. The shortest track (3:17) is bassist Revis' composition and solo performance "And Then, He Was Gone" in which the elegance of Revis' playing belies the traditional rhythm and beat role of the bass.
The other tracks range from 5 to 10 minutes in length allowing the group to fully develop a theme, adding layers and exploring as the pieces progress. The tracks range from the upbeat and energetic such as Jitney Man, Jaberwocky and Rhythm-a-ning to the beautiful and melancholic such as The Blossom of Parting, The Last Goodbye, (and) And Then He was Gone. Metamorphosen concludes with drummer Watts' wonderful composition Samo with 10 minutes of mid tempo jazz which simply allows the listener to bask in the glow of a wonderful performance featuring the quartet playing in perfectly synchronized collaboration.
Remarkably you can still listen to the whole album (As of November 21, 2009)