Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Marsalis Music)
A dozen years of togetherness in Marsalis’s quartet have bred familiarity that allows the saxophonist and the pianist to flow through one another’s thoughts. In these duets, their interactions and reactions are as profound on the mirthful pieces as on the melancholy. Marsalis wrote three of the songs, Calderazzo four, Wayne Shorter and Johannes Brahms one apiece. The Brahms “Die Trauernde” is an art song, but then so are all the others. Influences as diverse as Mahler and Ron Carter may be apparent, but categories don’t apply here. Well, one category does; this is fine chamber music.