All press News

Branford Marsalis’ first Hong Kong gig – it’s going to be a classic

Publication: SouthChinaMorningPost.com
Author: Robin Lynam
Date: April 16, 2016

Playing French and Russian classical music with a chamber music ensemble is probably not the way most of us would have expected saxophonist Branford Marsalis to make his Hong Kong debut.

A member of New Orleans’ first family of jazz – son to pianist Ellis and elder brother to trumpeter Wynton, drummer Jason, and trombonist Delfeayo – the 55-year-old is also best known as one of the finest jazz reed players of his generation, adept on alto, tenor, soprano and baritone saxophones.

He leads a highly successful jazz quartet, and also performs in a duet setting with notable pianists including Ellis Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo and Harry Connick Jnr. Over the last couple of years he has also undertaken a number of engagements performing entirely unaccompanied.

Seen by millions around the world in 1985 playing with Sting and Phil Collins at Live Aid, Marsalis is also a familiar face and sound to late night television audiences from his stint in the early 1990s as bandleader for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Still, he is no stranger to the classical music world. Marsalis made his debut in 2010 with the New York Philharmonic, playing Alexander Glazunov’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone. This is one of the two pieces that he will perform with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong at City Hall on April 27.

The musician says that, and Darius Milhaud’s Scaramouche suite, which he has recorded, were the orchestra’s choices for the programme.

“I tend to leave those decisions to the orchestras, because they know their markets,” he says over the phone from his home in Durham, North Carolina.

“All markets are different culturally, and they have a sense of what the audience will appreciate.

Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on April 18th, 2016 — 09:51am

Branford Marsalis aims to make music with meaning

Publication: The Georgia Straight
Author: Alexander Varty
Date: February 3, 2016

“Busy” doesn’t begin to describe Branford Marsalis’s hectic life. When the Georgia Straight reaches the versatile saxophonist at home in Raleigh, North Carolina, he’s just returned from a European tour, and he’s already packing his bags for the West Coast jaunt that will bring him to Vancouver next week. Sensibly, he’s timed his visit home to coincide with his wife’s birthday, but when we speak he’s also making a pit stop at his haberdasher’s and studying a “ridiculously difficult” orchestral score by composer Gabriel Prokofiev, which he’ll premiere with Florida’s Naples Philharmonic this March.

“Yeah, I’m multitasking,” Marsalis says with a laugh.

Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on February 18th, 2016 — 11:46am
Related Releases:

Reviews: Jazz discs from Branford Marsalis Quartet, Charlie Hunter Trio

Publication: Buffalo.com
Author: Jeff Simon
Date: June 7, 2015

Branford Marsalis Quartet, “A Love Supreme: Live in Amsterdam” (Okeh/Marsalis Music, disc plus DVD). A celebration of jazz history that is, itself, a remarkable bit of jazz history. John Coltrane’s classic record “A Love Supreme” was issued in February 1965. In the 50 years since its birth, few, if any, have been the musicians to treat Coltrane’s record as anything other than a great jazz monument – never to be touched and always to be revered. Here is that amazing rarity in celebration of “A Love Supreme’s” 50th anniversary year – a spectacular current jazz saxophonist putting his phenomenal quartet to work on Coltrane’s composition. Marsalis, then, is using all of Coltrane’s themes, tempos and rhythms but his incredible quartet is doing it all in their own way, from note to note. This, then, is one of the more phenomenal things that ever happens in jazz: one master player performing the most passionate tribute he can to a greater one by using every bit of his own majestic talent. 

Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 8th, 2015 — 12:19pm

Tar Heel: Branford Marsalis champions jazz for all

Publication: The News & Observer
Author: Marti Maguire
Date: May 30, 2015

DURHAM - Branford Marsalis grew up with the sounds of jazz music literally rising from the streets, wafting through the windows of the New Orleans home that would spawn a series of jazz giants.

And yet, the Grammy-award winning saxophonist, composer and bandleader’s career is marked by his versatility. Marsalis has played with the Grateful Dead and symphony orchestras, written Broadway scores and starred in Spike Lee movies. He started a record label, hosted a radio show and led the Tonight Show Band.

When he moved to Durham in 2002, Marsalis brought more than his varied talents and the famous surname. He also brought a legacy of service that he traces back to his musical family – one that has made its mark in the Triangle as well as his home town.

Marsalis regularly donates his time and talents to local causes, most notably the N.C. Symphony. He’s organized and performed at several concerts to benefit the organization, including the upcoming Branford Marsalis and Friends show on Tuesday that will also feature Rhiannon Giddens and The Kruger Brothers.

Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on June 1st, 2015 — 09:55am

Classical Classroom, Episode 82: Branford Marsalis Gives Classical Music Jazz Hands

Branford Marsalis recently appeared on Houston Public Radio’s “Classical Classroom” program, interviewed by Dacia Clay. Branford and Dacia speak about the similarities between the jazz and classical genres and Branford’s latest album, In My Solitude: Live at Grace Cathedral

Listen to the program via Houston Public Radio

Submitted by Courtney on April 9th, 2015 — 03:10pm