Branford Marsalis: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

The Songs:

  1. Roused About
  2. The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
  3. Xavier’s Lair
  4. Cain & Abel
  5. Citizen Tain
  6. Gilligan’s Isle
  7. Dewey Baby
  8. Beat’s Remark


  • Branford Marsalis – soprano & tenor saxophones
  • Robert Hurst – acoustic bass
  • Jeff “Tain” Watts – drums
  • Wynton Marsalis – trumpet (on “Cain & Abel”)
  • Courtney Pine – tenor saxophone (on “Dewey Baby”)

Recorded and released in 1991, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born finds Branford Marsalis returning to the trio format that he had previously explored on 1989’s Trio Jeepy. This is a strong, exploratory set, often invoking some of the finer free jazz recordings of John Coltrane. Marsalis undertook this album and tour right before beginning his two-year stint on The Tonight Show. With the exception of the opening and closing tracks by bassist Robert Hurst, all the rest are Marsalis originals. The first track, Roused About, is a tribute to long time Monk saxophonist Charlie Rouse. The angular melodic twists clearly reflect Monk’s style. The title track gets its name from the African novel by Ayi Kwei Armah. Branford’s brother Wynton joins on “Cain & Abel”, while “Dewey Baby”, (named after a fragment played by tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman), is a typical “cutting contest” between Branford and British saxophonist Courtney Pine. Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts is featured on the odd-metered “Citizen Tain”. This album was one of Marsalis’ strongest statements in the 1990’s and received high acclaim throughout the media, including a Five-Star review from Downbeat magazine. (Buy it here.)

Suggested Reading:

Bob Bernotas. Branford Marsalis: Jazz Musician.

Suggested Viewing:

Branford Marsalis. Music Tells You.