Branford Marsalis FAQ

How can I submit music for Branford to listen to?  
 Given his touring schedule and production duties for the label, Branford is not able to audition all of the music that is sent to him. You may forward music to his attention at our address (see 3 below), but we cannot guarantee that he will have the chance to listen.

Are you accepting clients in a management capacity?  
 Marsalis Music does not provide management services to artists.

Is sheet music available?  
 While Branford’s sheet music is not available at present, we hope to publish a songbook of his compositions in the near future.

When did your relationship with classical music start?  
 My relationship with classical music started when I was playing clarinet in my early youth, around the age of 10. I stopped listening to it for a while when I was playing in a rock band, but became attracted to it again through Wynton. He was studying classical music very seriously, and used to play Mahler Symphony No. 3, and Beethoven Symphony No. 5 a lot. The repetition really helped me to fall in love with the sound, and the composers.

Who are your favorite classical music composers? In the past you seemed to have an inclination for the French school….  
 Saxophone players prefer the French School, because many of the 20th Century French composers actually wrote for the saxophone. But I am a fan of many composers, early and late: Jean Philippe Rameau, Bach, Haydn, Debussy, Ravel, Strauss, Albinoni (I play his oboe works on soprano sax), Puccini, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Sally Beamish, Aaron Copland, Rachmaninov, Henry Purcell. And those are just a few of the names.

Who were your biggest musical influences while growing up?  
 My parent’s were my biggest influence. They stayed on us to do things to the absolute best that we could do them. Anything less was not satisfactory. Regarding music, it’s too large to remember almost. My first album purchases were Elton John’s Honky Chateau and Cheech and Chong’s The Big Bambu. After that is was Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Janis Ian, Carole King, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, ConFunkShun, War, The Isley Brothers, Jimi Hendrix. And that’s just the ones I remember off the top of my head.

Which artists have you worked with that have inspired you the most?  
 My brother Wynton, my Dad, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Sting, Kathleen Battle, DJ Premier, Jeff Watts, Kenny Kirkland, James Taylor…to name just a few.

Why did you chose the saxophone? Why not say, the violin?  
 The violin? That’s a totally obvious answer. I was playing clarinet in the school band, and wanted to join a funk band. Given that I’d spent 7 years playing clarinet, saxophone was the logical choice.

Branford, I understand that you are extremely involved in post-Katrina rebuilding efforts. I want to try and help as well, what are the ways I can get involved?  
 Since Hurricane Katrina, Harry Connick, Jr. and I have been involved with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity and the Musicians’ Village. The core idea behind the village is that it will provide a home for displaced musicians and other deserving families after Katrina. New Orleans’ rich musical heritage shaped the musical vernacular of the world and we see it as a small way we can give back to those who have given so much. For more information, please visit the New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village website at or to help with rebuilding efforts as a volunteer email volunteer [at] habitat-nola [dot] org

What is the setup for your tenor saxophone?  
 Jazz Only Selmer Fred Lebayle size 8 Reeds: 3.5 Alexander Superials

What is the setup for your alto saxophone?  
Classical Only Selmer Classic C Reeds: Vandoren # 5

What is the set up for your soprano saxophone?  
Classical & Jazz Selmer D Reeds: Vandoren V12 Clarinet Reed Size 5+