The Branford Marsalis Quartet will be joined by guest-vocalist Kurt Elling in a singular collaboration of musical forces. What has emerged from the partnership, after an intense week of performance and recording in New Orleans, is a new album, entitled Upward Spiral. This collection blends Songbook staples, jazz standards, and standards-to-be from a diverse array of composers. Every track on Upward Spiral confirms the beyond-category strengths of both the Quartet and Elling.
The tight-knit working band featuring Marsalis on saxophones, Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass, and Justin Faulkner on drums form a nearly telepathically cohesive unit. The addition of Elling’s deep jazz vocabulary, technical versatility, and outstanding intonation will enable the band to perform a variety of material in new ways.
Energized by the artistic promise of this collaboration, the band members have all contributed new arrangements to perform with this special line-up, looking beyond the Great American Songbook. Although following the format of a standard jazz quartet with vocals, the collaboration between jazz’s most intense band and one of jazz’s foremost singers should prove to be anything but standard.