Thursday, November 6, 2008

RADIO ALERT: Branford Marsalis on WUNC THIS HOUR

Branford Marsalis will talk about this Brasilianos tour on The State of Things TODAY at NOON.

WUNC 91.5 FM

Update: stream or get the podcast of the Marsalis interview here.

Added Friday morning:

It was a lovely concert, the Filharmonia Brasileira is a versatile, small chamber orchestra, with a fanciful, light touch on a lot of works that merit it by Villa-Lobos and Milhaud. In the interview, Marsalis talks about the jazz motifs in these classical works, and what he had to do technically to adapt and blend with the delicate, subdued colors of the strings, relative to loud horn-based jazz. We got to hear a little Brazilian rhythm toward the end, as one of the percussionists played a dancing rhythm on the pandeiro. Local composer Eric Hirsh was there and tracked down some of the unprogrammed encores. In fact, the orchestra itself didn't seem to want to go home, and just kept offering up gem after small gem. Milhaud's "Creation du Monde" was the highlight for me, a sweet, quirky jazz creation story; picture the first man and woman as Matisse cutouts cavorting in a jungle painting by Rousseau. They also played a dandy Scaramouche by Milhoud, and a few Bachianas Brasilianas and other works by Villa-Lobos; Branford executed very cleanly and with a very even, well-tempered tone, sticking largely to soprano sax, with a few pieces calling for alto. There was a very healthy turnout and several standing ovations. The Brazilian musicians seemed well-served by a very laid-back demeanor, which does not translate into a lack of musical discipline, but rather a sort of relaxed agility. Notably blurring the lines of "standard" classical concert deportment, the excellent clarinettist wore a bandana on his head, and Gil Jardim, Marsalis and other members of the orchestra exchanged soul brother handshakes. This orchestra was hip without ironic detachment, cool without pretension. Pretty much everything I had hoped a Brazilian classical orchestra would be. It's a very special repertoire, as well; it would be worth catching the remainder of this tour if it's in your area; remaining tourdates are at Branford's website.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

I also attended the great concert performed by Branford and the Brazilian orchestra. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was delighted in the relaxed sophistication the entire group displayed and performed. It was very refreshing to listen to the ensemble blend Brazilian, classical, and jazz elements in many of the pieces performed. Branford is continuing to reinvent himself and take on new challenges! If you get the opportunity to hear this ensemble, CHECK THEM OUT!