i spoke at the preconcert cafe chat, and was graciously comped a couple of tickets. i was going to the concert, even after a super long day of sitting in an assortment of public school gyms watching 8th grade boys hoop it up, but i wasn't certain that i would walk away impressed. well, color me silly.
they were very professional. they were musical. they were chatty. they were dressed up. they seriously played their rear ends off. i sat up close and was blown away by the ensemble interplay and branford's creative prowess.
branford has had one heckuva career. famous family of musicians from new orleans, tours and records with sting and bruce hornsby, classical sides, hollywood romances with tv & film, phony laughs for jay leno, adjunct teaching gigs, and riding shotgun with record companies. let me testify that, after sunday's concert, the man can still get it done.
much like his younger brother, branford is a polarizing voice in today's jazz world. he possesses stiff opinions on nearly every topic and is eager to share when asked. love him or hate him (and there are plenty of people on both sides of this fence), artists the likes of branford are vital to the staying power of our great american music. he challenges the institutionalized approach in an effort to help it not only survive, but rise up and become relevant once again.