Eternal finds saxophonist Branford Marsalis in a contemplative mood performing a mix of original and standard ballads with his usual quartet of pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. The title track, written for his wife Nicole, is a hushed and cerebral affair, but never feels anything but warm. Similarly, the lead-off track, "The Ruby and the Pearl," contains the faint blush of Ellington-ian exoticism and "Gloomy Sunday" brings to mind the rumbling and atmospheric late-'60s work of longtime Marsalis touchstone John Coltrane. The album, his second solo outing for his Marsalis Music label, is dedicated in memory to a list of people one can only assume were as influential musically on Marsalis as emotionally. Among them are bassist Malachi Favors, drummer Elvin Jones, saxophonist Steve Lacy, and the one and only Ray Charles. Their spirits are palpable here as Marsalis and his band have clearly documented a handful of quietly beautiful and deeply moving performances.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar