Music Preview: BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET & YUKO MABUCHI TRIO (Segerstrom Concert Hall)

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by Tony Frankel on January 18, 2019

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional


With propulsive muscled arrangements, intense high-powered playing, and ceaseless creativity, saxophonist/composer Branford Marsalis is one of his best and brightest musicians that America has ever produced, and his proficiency in both jazz and classical is mind-boggling. He joins his hard-swinging yet sensitive quartet to heat up the winter for one performance only — Friday Jan. 25, 2019, at 8pm — at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. Along with some great stuff you may have heard before, they’ll no doubt offer samples from their latest recording, The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul, which is scheduled for a March release.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet’s rollicking jazz party features the jazz trooper teaming up with his astounding, profound pianist Joey Calderazzo, bountiful bassist Eric Revis, and his still-young, astonishing drummer, Justin Faulkner.

An evening’s worth of the catalytic, collaborative mix of Marsalis and Calderazzo just by itself would make the trip to Segerstrom amply rewarding. Add to their already superior blend the flawless Mr. Revis, who loves taking care of business on bass with sparkle and invention, and the fabulous Faulkner, and you’re guaranteed one major jazz event in Costa Mesa.

Part of the power of the quartet’s knockout punch — along with such durable abilities as the quartet’s tight-knit compatibility, Marsalis’s and Calderazzo’s surging creativity and synergy, and Revis’s sturdy support — is Faulkner’s fire, vitality and adaptability. Faulkner first appeared with the quartet in 2007 when he was only 16-years-old, subbing in a gig for longtime drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. When the revolutionary Watts left the band in 2009, Faulkner, who was then 18, was invited to join. After years of honing his skills on the road with Marsalis’s super band, Owen McNally wrote, Faulkner has become a key player in the quartet’s phenomenal success; his rhythmic narratives are full of the sound and the fury that signify a whole new sense of passionate intensity and thrilling urgency in the quartet’s collective and individual spirit. You gotta see him live.

As if having the quartet in this sonically perfect hall isn’t enough, the opening act is the Yuko Mabuchi Trio (Del Atkins on bass and Bob Breton on drums), which had a hit with a 2017 live recording at USC (her third jazz album). Mabuchi moved to the U.S. from her native Japan not that long ago really, but when she plays American jazz she speaks the language perfectly. You’ll love Yuko’s sense of rhythm and melody, and her improvising feels like she was born in Detroit or New York City. Her technique reminds one of some of her music idols like Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and Monty Alexander. But beyond her talent for traditional jazz, one can also hear flavors of American R&B, Hip-Hop and Blues, which Yuko loved as a teenager.

And if you think last-minute on this, you may miss out, as tickets are selling incredibly well (Marsalis’s Quartet at The Soraya in Northridge next Thursday is sold-out). Seeing the quartet live, you’ll discover that the four musicians aren’t just celebrating the music and their crackling interplay, they’re having unadulterated joy playing together — and that’s precisely how you’ll feel after the show.

Marsalis photo by Eric Ryan Anderson and Roger Thomas

Brandford Marsalis Quartet
Yuko Mabuchi Trio
Friday January 25, 2019, at 8pm
Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 615 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa
for tickets, call 714.556.2787 or visit SCFTA

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