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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was worth the wait!
After more than a decade of working together, Brandford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo finally recorded this album of duets. Each contributed new material, and they also included two covers: Johann Brahms's "Die Trauernde" ("The Sad Maiden"), and Wayne Shorter's "Face on the Barroom Floor". (Charlie Chaplin created a short of the same title that illustrates the...
Published on July 15, 2011 by C. J. Fuller

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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Joey C. didn't need this :-(
I really enjoy J.C. and occasionally B.M., but this was flat, pleading for help, Brandford seemed lost, like he didn't care where Joey was. Sorry J.C.
Published 20 months ago by Del


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was worth the wait!, July 15, 2011
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This review is from: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Audio CD)
After more than a decade of working together, Brandford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo finally recorded this album of duets. Each contributed new material, and they also included two covers: Johann Brahms's "Die Trauernde" ("The Sad Maiden"), and Wayne Shorter's "Face on the Barroom Floor". (Charlie Chaplin created a short of the same title that illustrates the story--worth checking out on YouTube.) Mirth and Melancholy are both covered here, but emphasis is on the melancholy. "Hope," composed by Calderrazo, was previously recorded on the 2006 album Braggtown. It is very interesting to compare the two versions--I thought it couldn't be any more beautiful than the haunting first recording, but I was wrong. My uncle, a liturgical composer, identifies Branford Marsalis as "the one who can make a saxophone sigh." He does that here in ways that are almost unbelievable. Remember, the saxophone is a wind instrument with pressed keys. I literally do not know how he gets some of those sounds from that instrument.

My two other favorites on the album are "La Valse Kendall" and "The Bard Lachrymose." The first is a simple waltz, again written by Calderazzo, that evokes another, more romantic era. I honestly thought it was a very old song before I checked the notes. My youngest son says it makes him think of "moonlight, candles and a castle."

"The Bard Lachrymose," Marsalis's song, is so beautiful that my oldest son is trying to learn it on his saxophone as I write this, and his practice doesn't bother me a bit. "Lachrymose" also sounds like it comes from another time, as if John Dowland might have penned it during a sad moment.

If you like Branford's more progressive jazz side, you'll enjoy "Endymion." The title references the Greek myth about a young shepherd, in love with the moon, who was granted eternal life (and sleep) by Selene (the moon). "One Way," written by Calderazzo, is full of mirth, a joyous romp that somehow manages to merge old school New Orleans with classic New York jazz. "Precious" was written by Marsalis in reaction to the movie of the same title. "Bri's Dance" is the most impulsive--a true jazz song, honest and lively; when I listen, I can almost see a lone little girl in a frilly dress creating an impromptu dance to the music she hears in her head.

The only down side I can think of is that there is almost no way to put this into any one category; the listener has to stretch or has to already be experienced with different forms of music to get all of it. If you're unsure, I'd get it and listen for a few times. You may find yourself falling in love . . .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!, August 7, 2011
Will enjoy this music over and over. Heard them play a few songs last night at the OC Great Park in Irvine... under the stars with light breeze, these tunes easing thru the air was like being transported to Heaven. Had to stop by and purchase the whole thing!

You won't be sorry unless you don't buy it!
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet again, June 9, 2011
By 
Michael P. Asen (Little Diamond Island,Maine) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Audio CD)
These two are the masters of the jazz ballard..in the tradition of what they have been doing together since Eternal, Braggtown and Metamorphson....this is subperb...Branford on soprano as always the best...If you buy one jazz cd this year make it this one
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saw them in concert together, had to buy the album, August 14, 2012
This review is from: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Audio CD)
When I bought tickets recently for a concert with Branford Marsalis, I had never heard of Joey Calderazzo. Oh goodness, what I've been missing! He is so sophisticated, so warm, such a perfect partner to Brandford Marsalis that I'm stunned they haven't done more albums together. This is a must buy album, period. This is the type of heart-felt, soulful, rich, sophisticated, warm, thoughtful...you get the idea....excellent jazz that can bring tears to your eyes. This version of Eternal, which Branford says he wrote for his wife, is truly a moving love song. This is the type of music that gently demands you listen to with both ears, eyes gently closed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want more, March 14, 2012
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This review is from: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Audio CD)
Love the entire CD, but HOPE touched my soul in new places. Would love more collaborations between these two fine artists.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, February 11, 2014
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This review is from: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Audio CD)
Excellent record and beautiful songs. The sax and piano sounds very special . I love it and highly recomended it
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Combination of the Two, September 29, 2013
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Van Isle Rev (Vancouver Island, British Columbia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Audio CD)
The first thing that ought to be said about this lovely disc is that, by and large, there is much more "melancholy" on offer here than "mirth". What ought next to be said is that the opening track, Calderazzo's jaunty "One Way", does not really give an accurate taste of what the remainder of the disc is going to offer. That having been said, this is a magical set of performances, performances that reveal just how in-synch Marsalis and Calderazzo are with each other and also reveals their love for classical idioms as well as their love of jazz. If you are a fan of either artist--in particular if you enjoy the classical-leaning side of Branford Marsalis highlighted on discs such as "Creation" or "Romances for Saxophone"--"Songs of Mirth and Melancholy" is an album that you are bound to cherish.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good jazz!!, April 24, 2013
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Georgia (Bedford, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Audio CD)
I wasn't really sure what to expect since I didn't preview it, but it's good. Great duo! Glad they decided to collaborate
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5.0 out of 5 stars Purity, March 26, 2013
By 
Jim Madole (Grand Rapids, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Audio CD)
There's something so clean and pure about Branford's compositions. I'm not a jazz expert, I just know when something goes in my ear and touches my heart, my head and my soul. Branford's music does that. Paired here with Joey's piano, you really get to hear the sound of Branford's voice. I'm a fan of his brother Wynton as well, but I've never understood why Branford isn't more well known. Enjoy this. It's good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite, February 23, 2013
By 
Kate Says (Montclair, NJ) - See all my reviews
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Highly recommended not only for Marsalis/Calderazzo fans but also for those who are curious to find out what a collaboration of two masters on their instruments can yield. I was mezmerized when I first heard the "La Valse Kendall" and "Die Trauernde" tracks. The oldest Marsalis brother's beautiful lyrical voice - grounded in technical expertise on whatever horn he chooses to play - can indeed move to tears.
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Songs of Mirth and Melancholy
Songs of Mirth and Melancholy by Branford Marsalis (Audio CD - 2011)
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