I knew this wouldn’t take long. Youtube has video of Branford Marsalis with his new drummer, Justin Faulkner (who is one of five young drummers profiled by the estimable Ben Ratliff this weekend in the New York Times). (Here’s a review of the gig in the Youtube video.) The whole band sounds really good here — Branford with that cute Sonny Rollins thing at 0:20-0:22 and a good-natured, tremendously lyrical solo in general, Joey Calderazzo showing how much taste and depth he’s (*cough* finally *cough*) acquired.
Eric Revis’ bass solo is interesting: he watches Faulkner so closely and walks so prosaically this must be part of the young man’s schooling. In 1999 when I saw Branford’s quartet at the Village Vanguard, Revis was the new guy in the band; he would lean into a solo so hard, trying to nail the band’s concept, and Branford, who can be a hard guy to please, would just smile and shake his head at the end: That’s not it. Eventually Revis made his way through the hazing. Faulkner sounds like he’ll be OK too. The song, of course, is “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” Bands that play it almost never swing. This one does.