John Coltrane's A Love Supreme - Live In Amsterdam Branford Marsalis Quartet (Rounder) Rating: NN Rating: NN
Retracing the giant steps of saxophone colossus John Coltrane might be a worthwhile educational exercise for aspiring jazz musician Branford Marsalis, but his attempts to recreate Coltrane's seminal A Love Supreme suite at Amsterdam's Bimhuis jazz club make for a tedious concert DVD. The dour quartet of Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts barely acknowledge the audience as they plow workmanlike through Coltrane's most spiritually charged creation, as though they're at a high school chamber music recital. Showing no thrill of discovery and precious little passion, Marsalis and his subordinates have gone beyond turning the joyously uplifting communion into an unnecessarily sombre wake - they've taken any potential fun out of the funeral. Sure, they've all studied the studio recording enough to deftly mimic McCoy Tyner's dramatic piano fills and Elvin Jones's cymbal flourishes, but to what end? So Marsalis can regain some of the jazz cred he lost blowing for Sting? No chance. The best part of the DVD is actually the bonus stuff. Not the behind-the-scenes footage of Marsalis walking to an Indonesian restaurant that turns out to be closed, but the tacked-on chat with Alice Coltrane about her late husband. The reverential Marsalis doesn't probe too deeply during their 33-minute discussion, but she's been interviewed so infrequently over the years that any chance to hear her insights will be welcomed by Coltrane fans.