(Marsalis Music/Decca)


“There are no subpar tunes” on Metamorphosen, said Dan Ouellete in Billboard. That’s just what you’d expect from the Branford Marsalis Quartet. Together for more than a decade, the stellar group—which includes drummer Jeff Watts, bassist Eric Revis, and pianist Joey Calderazzo—demonstrates a “sense of intuitive ease and adventure that comes with longevity.” Metamorphosen plays like a conversation between old friends, distinguished by its vivacity, “whimsy, mystery, and lyricism.”

Throughout, the quartet remains both loose and “imposingly self-assured,” said Nate Chinen in The New York Times. Marsalis, on sax, is still driven by the same concepts that have defined his career: “strong melody, tumultuous yet unambiguous rhythm, and a resiliently pragmatic relationship to the jazz tradition.” He gives each player time in the spotlight, and every song “highlights a facet” of this remarkable band. Watts plays with “exploratory intensity,” while Calderazzo evokes melancholy with two of his own ballads, “The Blossom of Parting” and “The Last Goodbye.”