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From D.C.'s Kennedy Center to East Of Angel Town: Conversations with Branford Marsalis

Publication: The Huffington Post
Author: Mike Ragogna
Date: October 18, 2010

Legendary jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis has been accumulating a series of honors with the upcoming NEA’s Jazz Masters Award being one of the most prestigious yet. He and his brood of familial, musical superstars recently played D.C.’s Kennedy Center, and that recording has been released as the album Music Redeems that unites The Marsalis Family with guests such as honorary offspring, Harry Connick, Jr.

The project’s profits will fund The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a New Orleans-based organization dedicated to keeping the arts lively for young people. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on October 18th, 2010 — 10:04am

Good Works: Marsalis Family Live CD Benefiting New Orleans Education Center

Publication: Billboard
Author: Mitchell Peters
Date: October 16, 2010
 

In June 2009, New Orleans’ Marsalis family of jazz musicians - father Ellis (piano) and sons Branford (saxophone), Wynton (trumpet), Delfeayo (trombone) and Jason (drums) - gathered for a rare, sold-out performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

During the evening, Ellis received the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, the National Endowment for the Arts honored the Marsalis family with a 2011 Jazz Masters Award.

Since the family performs together so infrequently, the artists decided to record the June concert. Months later, Branford listened to the recording and was pleased with what he heard. “I said, ‘Wow, this is pretty good, actually,’ he says. “It was a lot of fun too. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on October 12th, 2010 — 10:20am

Outspoken Branford Marsalis loyal to music

Publication: Toledo Blade
Author: Rod Lockwood
Date: October 6, 2010

Famed musician to interact with students, play at BGSU

By 2000 Branford Marsalis had played with Art Blakey, Miles Davis, his brother Wynton Marsalis, Clark Terry, the Grateful Dead, and Sting, among countless other musical luminaries.

He had led The Tonight Show band for Jay Leno, attended the Berklee College of Music, and recorded seven albums. Marsalis, a three-time Grammy winner who by then was a household name — at least in homes where people sit around talking about jazz — was 40 years old and already had accomplished more musically than someone far older.

All of which added up to just one thing for Marsalis and it had nothing to do with congratulating himself for being so good.

It was time for a new challenge, in this case making a major foray into the world of classical music, which is obviously a lot different than the jazz and pop genres where he was most comfortable. The move meant learning an entirely new form of music and taking the chance on failing.

Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on October 7th, 2010 — 09:58am

Branford Marsalis talks "Music Redeems" and Party Songs

Publication: Artist Direct
Interviewer: Rick Florino
Date: October 5, 2010

There’s no better gift to dad than bringing the whole family together.

Jazz stalwarts, the Marsalis family, assembled at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. last year to honor dear old dad, Ellis Marsalis. Ellis is a recipient of the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and he’s been integral to the genre since he first picked up an instrument. The Marsalis family sold out the Kennedy Center for the event, and all proceeds were donated to the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music. In addition, team Marsalis recorded the show and released it as Music Redeems.
Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on October 6th, 2010 — 12:44pm

Families That Play Together . . .

Publication: The Wall Street Journal
Author: Larry Blumenfeld
Date: September 23, 2010

A trumpeter squared his shoulders, issued short rhythmic bursts based on one note, and then built a crowd-pleasing yet complex solo. A drummer mined a flexible groove, sharing a glance now and then—locking in—with a pianist whose harmonic shifts urged along the song. The three musicians bore a striking resemblance to one another. No coincidence: The trumpeter and drummer were Adam and Zachary O’Farrill, 15 and 18 years old, respectively. The pianist was their dad, Arturo O’Farrill, whose distinctions at age 50 include directing the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.
Read more »

Submitted by Ben on October 6th, 2010 — 12:16pm

Two Stars, Two Assertive Drummers

Publication: New York Times
Author: Ben Ratliff
Date: October 3, 2010

The trumpeter Terence Blanchard and the saxophonist Branford Marsalis, in back-to-back sets at Rose Theater on Friday, played what sounded like new music.

Branford and TerenceIn truth some of it was old. (And some of it was really old.) But the flexible musical rhetoric of the sets felt like the right move for the main theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where jazz is often presented with an overarching theme, program notes and a set list published in advance.

Read more »

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis on Classical Music, the NEA Awards and Durham

Publication: WNYC Culture Desk
Author: Terrance McKnight, WQXR Host
Date: October 1, 2010

Renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis will reunite with trumpeter Terence Blanchard for a special performance at the Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m.

“It’s going to be modern jazz at a very high level,” says jazz critic Nate Chinen, who writes for The New York Times. “Both these bands are very assertive rhythmically and advanced harmonically. Plus, there’s a lot of driving force and energy.”

Read more »

Submitted by Ben on October 1st, 2010 — 02:43pm

Detroit International Jazz Festival wrap-up: A fiery final day

Publication: MLive.com
Author: Mike Stratton
Date: September 7, 2010

The theme of this year’s Detroit International Jazz Festival was Flame Keepers, and the heritage and jazz history on display at the festival shows the music to be very much alive and in good hands.

Where else can you see Barry Harris watching Mulgrew Miller from a front row seat? Or young Tia Fuller grab a chair to make sure to catch Roy Haynes’ burning set? Or watch Gerald Wilson grow young before our eyes leading a dynamic big band through some punchy arrangements?

Highlights of the last day of the festival included an amazing set of music by Branford Marsalis Quartet. Caught backstage and asked, “What’s your personal highlight of the festival?” Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson answered, “This right here.” When questioned what he thought of Branford he answered immediately and authoritatively: “Branford Marsalis is the greatest living saxophonist.”
Read more »

Submitted by Ben on September 8th, 2010 — 01:44pm

The Marsalis Family: Music Redeems

Publication: Off-Beat
Author: John Swenson
Date: September 1, 2010

The family band has been a cornerstone of the American entertainment industry since the 19th Century, when singing families became the first domestic music stars. There’s something magic about the way blood relatives interact with each other spiritually and instinctively rather than technically. This is even more important in the African-American music tradition, in which musicians have learned from their relatives for generations. That special relationship is much in evidence on Music Redeems. Liberated from the critical necessity to make a Big Statement or define some new trend, the Marsalis family’s only agenda here is to enjoy playing together.
Read more »

Submitted by Ben on August 31st, 2010 — 04:21pm

Branford at 50

Publication: The Gig
Author: Nate Chinen
Date: August 26, 2010

You read that headline correctly: saxophonist Branford Marsalis was born half a century ago today. Some of us will want a minute to absorb that information. Take one if you need it.

Branford has a new album out this week with the Marsalis Family, which is naturally part of his claim to fame. That’s not what I want to talk about here, though. I’d like to talk about the specific achievements of Ellis’ eldest son: as a saxophonist, as a bandleader, and as a public figure besides. (Forgive me, folks, this may get a little personal.)

To view this blog entry in full, please click HERE!