The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul finds the celebrated Branford Marsalis Quartet at a new peak, addressing a kaleidoscope of moods with inspiration and group commitment. As usual there is compositional input from the veteran members, with Eric Revis supplying the surging “Dance of the Evil Toys” and more tensile yet equally dynamic “Nilaste,” while Calderazzo reinforces the lyrical compositional yin to his virtuosic keyboard yang in “Cianna” and “Conversation Among the Ruins.” In addition to the leader's own “Life Filtering from the Water Flowers,” with one of his most deeply felt and keenly shaded tenor saxophone solos, there are two of the more challenging jazz jewels of the mid-seventies, Andrew Hill's “Snake Hips Waltz” and Keith Jarrett's “The Windup.” The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul confirms Branford Marsalis's vision. It is sophisticated, adventurous and anything but defensive, and it captures a great band sounding better than ever.
The quartet that Marsalis has led for the past three decades has always been a model of daring, no-apologies artistry, of ever-widening musical horizons and deepening collective identity. With like-minded support from pianist Joey Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis (each with 20 years of service to the group) and drummer Justin Faulkner (the “rookie” who has been aboard since 2009), the band has long been a model of how to sustain and enlarge a musical outlook that is both historically and stylistically inclusive.