Publication: Cincinnati Enquirer
Author: Janelle Gelfand
Date: November 25, 2012
Branford Marsalis may be best known as the former music director and bandleader for NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in the 1990s. But his artistry runs much deeper.
He’s a member of a distinguished New Orleans jazz dynasty that began with his father, pianist Ellis Marsalis. Branford, a saxophonist and the oldest of his siblings – who include trumpeter Wynton, trombonist Delfeayo and drummer Jason – established his reputation while still a student at the Berklee College of Music, working with jazz luminaries Art Blakey, Lionel Hampton and Clark Terry.
Since then, he’s appeared with a who’s-who of jazz giants. He has also partnered with musicians as diverse as Sting, the Grateful Dead, and the hip-hop group Public Enemy. The Grammy Award-winner founded his own record label a decade ago, and records with his own Branford Marsalis Quartet.
The other side of this artist is that he is as comfortable discussing Shostakovich as he is Miles Davis.
Marsalis made his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 2010, the same year that his score for the 2010 Broadway revival of August Wilson’s “Fences” earned a Tony Award nomination for “Best Original Score Written for the Theater.” He has appeared as a soloist with orchestras around the world in music by composers such as Copland, Debussy and Darius Milhaud.
This year, Marsalis is a creative director for the Ascent Series for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Read more »