Transcription on Branford Marsalis’ solo on “In The Crease” (live version) by jamesmahone in Types > Research > Arts & Architecture. Happy 58th to #BranfordMarsalis – a most diverse and complex musician. In mid 80s, while still a Berklee College of Music student, Marsalis toured Europe. Contemporary Jazz. Tracks. In The Crease. Branford Marsalis. Requiem. 6: Brafnord Marsalis. Elysium. Branford Marsalis. Cheek To Cheek.

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We’ve gone through what we needed to, as people and as musicians, to be at the top of our game. We’re not students anymore; we’ve gone through ‘university. thw

Together they provide that mix of restlessness and assurance, of knowledge and inquiry, which the leader and the music demand. Unlike so many musicians I meet, who either play modern music at the expense of the tradition or become too immersed in the tradition to play modern music, Joey plays modern, he’s forward thinking, but he still has that attitude.

Tain called me from the club one night and said, ‘If you ever want to hear bebop the way it’s supposed to be played, get down here!

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Walter would even pull his hands off the keyboard when he found himself going to a familiar idea. I never forgot that.

It’s one of those songs that goes back to when I roomed with ‘Smitty’ Smith at Berklee, and would mess with his Doctor Rhythm machine when he wasn’t around. I’ve always wanted to write rhythmically challenging music that flows, because I’ve always felt that it’s hard as hell to play odd meters without spelling them out, but then you lose an organic melodic feeling.


Now that I’ve been doing it for so long, I was branforr to just write the melody for ‘In the Crease’ without worrying about the meter. Marsalks as far as the rest of the band getting it,” he laughs, “I’ve learned that you can rehearse and rehearse and it will remain problematic, but screw it up a couple of times on a gig and you learn it real fast.

It might have ended there, but then I heard that a lot of other musicians, drummers in particular, were upset that we were writing so many tunes for Tain.

So now we’ll do them forever.


One guy is even constantly sending me emails with Tain titles. Everything’s in five, except for one bar in six. Kenny’s the one who turned me on to Keith’s music, which has influenced the shape that my ballads would take. But when Keith was ill and couldn’t record, I just decided to save it for this album. The disc is completed by a fleet, provocatively arranged version of the standard “Cheek to Cheek,” a “hidden” walking blues “Sleepy Hollow” that finds Branford in a Ben Webster mood and a new version of “Elysium” that transforms a piece first heard in a trio setting on the Requiem CD.


Now it’s completely different. This music has crewse visceral and emotional rewards, but it also provides new perspectives and provokes fresh responses.

Contemporary Jazz | Branford Marsalis

It allows us to hear what’s next, rather than simply what we already know. This is not an obvious choice, and is definitely not the easy way out, for a musician who, as he turns 40, has already enjoyed two decades of acclaim and celebrity.

I think of how Stravinsky, in his autobiography, talks about the frustration of people finding something of yours that they like, then expecting you to do it for the rest of your life while you’re constantly trying to write something new, that they might not understand. And that means you just play it, accept the consequences, and realize how lucky you are.

And since he and his band are so highly skilled at communicating their vision, his fans can consider themselves equally lucky. Along with celebrating his birthday on August 26, Branford can take heart from knowing that his band has created not only Contemporary Jazz, but contemporary jazz at its finest. Skip to main content.