Not just your imagination: ‘Temptations’ musical rocks

Berkeley Rep’s world premiere musical, which opened Thursday, Sept. 14, under the direction of Des McAnuff, makes songs resounding clarion calls from their opening beats — the teasing jazz piano riff of “I Can’t Get Next To You,” the ache-filled strings soaring over gentle guitar thrums in “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me).” Richly textured, perfectly blended harmonies back lead vocals that somehow combine swaggering showmanship, meticulously honed technique and emotion of almost unbearable intensity. Channeling Eddie Kendricks, actor Jeremy Pope has an otherwordly, buttery falsetto that warbles among notes as if they were playthings. When David Ruffin (Ephraim Sykes) takes the lead on the show’s title track, abasing himself before his love for an imagined woman, he howls as if to implore the grim reaper for a few minutes more to live.

 

Read more HERE: http://m.sfgate.com/performance/article/Not-just-your-imagination-Temptations-12203077.php

 

January-March

   
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks so far this year. I hung out with a bunch of old musician friends of mine (and some new ones) while filming a song for a new TV show backing up the Delfonics, subbed a bunch of dates at the musicals Avenue Q and The Color Purple, recorded three new songs for a new artist at a great recording studio in midtown,  played the Hora for what seemed like 30 minutes at a rare January wedding and backed up an amazing singer at a tribute to Petula Clark at the Metroplotan Room here in Manhattan.

 January-March are generally slow times for musicians. I’ve been fortunate to have been busy during the first half of this month. I’m looking forward to seeing what is in store for the next few months! 

#thankful

Branford Marsalis: The Problem With Jazz

  
When laypeople listen to records, there’re certain things they’re going to get to. First of all, how it sounds to them. If the value of the song is based on intense analysis of music, you’re doomed. Because people that buy records don’t know shit about music. When they put on Kind of Blue and say they like it, I always ask people: What did you like about it? They describe it in physical terms, in visceral terms, but never in musical terms.

In a lot of ways classical music is in a similar situation to where jazz is, except at least the level of excellence in classical music is more based on the music than it is based on the illusion of reinventing a movement. Everything you read about jazz is: “Is it new? Is it innovative?” I mean, man, there’s 12 fucking notes. What’s going to be new? You honestly think you’re going to play something that hasn’t been played already?

So, you know, my whole thing is, is it good? I don’t care if it’s new. There’s so little of it that’s actually good, that when it’s good, it shocks me

Read more HERE:http://www.seattleweekly.com/2011-09-14/music/branford-marsalis-the-problem-with-jazz/