- Released: December 1, 2009
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
Entertainment Weekly - 9/1/00, p.81
"...Looser and fresher than ever, [he] comes out swinging with his powerhouse post-hard-bop quartet....they blow mightily..." - Rating: B+
CMJ - 8/28/00, p.29
"...A wide variety of material within the jazz tradition....A survey of contemporary jazz indeed."
Down Beat - 12/00, p.793 stars out of 5
- "...It's a heady, often exhilarating album..."
JazzTimes - 10/00, p.91
"...An 8-chapter gem....a straight, tenorsax quartet date....this band is one of the most impressive working today....a complete package."
- 1.In The Crease
- 4.Cheek To Cheek
- 5.Tain Mutiny
- 7.Countronious Rex
Personnel: Branford Marsalis (saxophone); Joey Calderazzo (piano); Eric Revis (bass); Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums).
Recorded at Bearsville Sound Studios, Bearsville, New York from December 1-4, 1999. Includes liner notes by Rafi Zabor.
CONTEMPORARY JAZZ won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album by an Individual or Group.
With CONTEMPORARY JAZZ, his first outing after the untimely death of pianist Kenny Kirkland, Branford Marsalis seemed ready to chart new territories in jazz. Compositions such as "Elysium" highlight his (and his group's) ability to play with ferocity; there aren't many drummers, for example, as vociferous and energetic as Jeff Watts. Marsalis himself seems driven to higher levels of ferocity, as evidenced by his edgy, scorching solo on the above-mentioned track.
In contrast, tunes such as "Requiem" bring out Marsalis' affection for delicate and wistful ballads. Pianist Joey Calderazo also plays a rhapsodic and introspective solo on this piece, giving a kind of free-floating feel to the music. Use of complex metric modulations and implied time make this album sound at times like it's filled with many sharp twists and turns, as if each song begins in a larval stage, then transforms into a strange yet fascinating creature. This process makes Marsalis' music at once exciting and baffling. Challenging to the ears, yet soothing to the primal instincts, CONTEMPORARY JAZZ is one of the tenor man's best.