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Branford Marsalis: Confident MF Playin’ Tunes

Branford Marsalis: Confident MF Playinâ Tunes
By Published: December 10, 2012
Musicians evolve, and so do bands, if they're allowed to stay together long enough to develop their musical relationships—that certain chemistry. Such is the case with Branford Marsalis, the outstanding saxophonist who has been through so much in his storied career. It's also the case with his band, which he has kept together, with few personnel changes, for more than a decade. They are a tight unit that continues to ripen.

That band, and its saxophonist, are going as strong as ever. While controversies in jazz music, real or media contrived, materialize and dissipate like weather systems, Marsalis always holds his course, producing consistently compelling music and leading a band that is both steeped in the jazz tradition and bent on continuing to hone its identity and sound.

Not like he asked for it, but being part of the renowned and remarkably talented Marsalis clan out of New Orleans has placed much of the saxophonist's career in a bigger spotlight than that of most musicians. A lot has happened over the years, and Marsalis, a man of strong opinions backed by sturdy confidence, remains steadfast, not concerned with exterior commotion. A man with a sharp and disarming sense of humor, he's bemused by much of what transpires away from the bandstand.

Consider that he was a member of the well-dressed Young Lions, who burst onto the jazz scene seemingly to let people know there were new sheriffs in town; they knew what jazz was, and they were going to swing it—literally—in your face. His association with his brother, trumpeter Wynton, linked him with a certain stringent philosophy (though Branford's ideas are different, even if Wynton's were misunderstood). They were lauded by some people for lifting up the jazz flag, kicking the dirt off it and replanting it. But simultaneously they also had dirt kicked on them by others, dismissed by some as merely dredging up old jazz aesthetics. Away from that, Branford was also the guy who went to play with Sting. He's the guy who created a funky alter ego, Buckshot LaFonque, to put out music in a funky style. He ventured to Hollywood to become the joking sidekick (and bandleader) for Jay Leno on NBC's The Tonight Show. He's part of an entire family that received the National Endowment for the Arts designation as Jazz Masters, an occurrence that yet again caused a bit of a brouhaha in the jazz community.

None of those things ever violated anyone's humanity, abridged anyone's civil liberties or started any wars. But they sparked discussion, vitriol and praise, depending on one's point of view. Marsalis, through it all, is a musician, refocused over time, trying to play music that not only matters to him but matters to the audience. Now 52, he looks at music and his career differently than he did in his 20s. It's a natural progression, like II-V-I chords.

Marsalis is also a realist. And, while he's mellowed into middle age, his opinions are pointed, and he's quick to project them. He also doesn't take himself too seriously. He can say, "Oh well" and move on when he sees things in music that he doesn't agree with. In his own music, he's loose, as long as it's in a manner that he can abide. He's true to his vision and is always trying to improve. And he plays his ass off. He expects his musicians to do the same, but not to the point where the people who are listening don't get it. To Marsalis, that's a major rub.

Four MFs Playin' TunesThe group's 2012 recording, Four MFs Playin' Tunes (Marsalis Music, 2012), is as direct musically as the street language that the abbreviated title implies. It's jazz music inspired by the grand tradition, interpreted by the cats Marsalis has put together with the goal of presenting the group sound and the growth of the individual personalities within it.

Marsalis is comfortable in his own skin. It's OK that he is one of the musicians on the high plateau, one of the Brothers Marsalis who remain in the public eye. Urbane and down to earth, he even granted an interview while playing golf in Durham, N.C.—where he's lived for a few years now, away from the hustle and bustle of music-centric cities—not from the clubhouse. While strolling the first segment of the 18 holes he would play that day, he offered candid and pointed remarks, while at the same time swinging a club and busting chops with the rest of the foursome, which included his pianist, Joey Calderazzo.

"The hardest thing to do in music is to write a melody that makes the everyman want to put in his pocket and whistle it on the way home," says Marsalis, paraphrasing a quote by musician and teacher Darius Milhaud, which he read in a book about 10 years ago. Marsalis keeps the full quote taped to his computer "to remind me of what I'm supposed to be doing out here."

Listen to a lot of cutting-edge jazz musicians today and it can easily be seen that this his particular notion isn't a consideration. And that's OK. But it's important to Marsalis and the music his band presents. He says that today musicians are trying too hard to complicate the music, to show how much they know on their horn or what they learned in college, and thinking less about what can reach people. He cited an interview that saxophonist Paul Desmond once conducted with Charlie Parker on Boston radio in the 1950s. "He starts talking to Bird about how [Bird] innovated and invented the music. Bird says, 'We wasn't even thinking about that shit.' He says, 'I believe music should be clean. It should be clean already—as clean as possible.' Play tunes that the people dig. That's the key phrase: play tunes that the people dig." (The actually transcription of the Parker interview is: "Ever since I've ever heard music, I've thought it should be very clean, very precise—as clean as possible, anyway, you know—and more or less to the people, you know, something they could understand, something that was beautiful, you know.")

Then, states Marsalis, "Post-Coltrane, it became: 'Fuck the people.' They had the audacity to say that was Coltrane's mantra. ... The reality is: what exactly were the forward-thinking, advanced properties of [Coltrane's recording of] 'Chim-Chim Cheree' and 'My Favorite Things'? 'Trane used that same formula: let's find songs that have a sound in the popular marketplace and do our version of them. It worked so well that 'My Favorite Things' was released as a 45 [r.p.m. single record]."

Marsalis frowns when he opines, "The entire basis for playing jazz now is a vehicle for the performer to show what a genius he is or how good he is. There's almost no acknowledgement of a responsibility to the audience. I'm not talking about us [jazz musicians] becoming a bunch of Elton Johns. It's not about turning jazz musicians into pop musicians. That's not what this discussion is about." Rather, he says, it's keeping the audience in mind and getting the music across without having people scratch their heads about its content.

He admits that when he and Wynton and their contemporaries came to prominence in the 1980s, "We were just playing what we wanted to play and shoving it down the people's throats, and we thought it was cool." But he's changed. And the music of Four MFs Playin' Tunes is exemplified in the title.

As an outside reference, he mentions Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and noted author who does college-campus tours and is known for simplifying complex science, making it understandable. "The kids love him because he takes something like astrophysics and talks about it in a narrative that is so simple, a jackass can understand it," he says. "To me, that's kind of a metaphor about what our job is. Our job is to take things that are complex and oftentimes abstract and narrow them down to where people, on a rudimentary level, can get what the message is—instead of taking things that are essentially simple, a song like 'How High the Moon' or 'I'll remember April,' and putting it in 11/8 or 11/4 or changing all the chords. This is kind of where we are.

"The reason the title of the record became [Four MFs Playin' Tunes] is because this guy was asking me what my concept was. I said, 'Records can't have concepts.' ... How can you have an actual concept from record to record? Recordings, especially jazz recordings, are either a validation of a concept or a repudiation of a concept. That's all there really is. So the idea that this record is dramatically different from the last one is bullshit.

"He just kept pressing. 'Well, if you had to say it had a concept, what would the concept be?' And I said, 'Well it would be four motherfuckers playing tunes. That's what the concept would be.' He said, 'That's all?' I said, 'Man, what is our job? Our job is to play songs.' And ultimately, our job is to grasp the emotional import of a song and deliver that to an audience. All the other shit guys are talking about ... I had a friend of mine—I hadn't talked to him in a long time, and he's talking about his newest innovations in music. It's about combining 'Giant Steps' with another tune—this, that or the other. I started saying, 'When did 'Giant Steps' become the gold standard? When 'Trane didn't even play it live? Go and try and find a bootleg of any of that math stuff Coltrane was dealing with. You won't find it. He was experimenting, which is what you're supposed to do. Once he figured out the experiment, he put it on a record. Once the record was done, when he went on the road, he didn't play it.

"Joey [Calderazzo] correctly says that [Coltrane] might not have played it, but all of the things he learned from that he used in his subsequent solos, which is what he's supposed to do. But that's not what other people are doing. They're grabbing on to that song form and trying to affix that harmonic structure to a bunch of stuff," says Marsalis. He further expounds, "If you want to impress me, write out a Sonny Rollins solo or a Wayne Shorter solo or an Ornette Coleman solo- -guys who are not as linear. But they can't do that. 'Trane was kind of like food for a starving man because 'Trane had a linear concept, but all the while embracing all the other elements of jazz. If you listen to other recordings, like this excellent bootleg recording he did in '54 with the Johnny Hodges band, he could play dance blues, he could play traditional ballads. That's all cast aside [by some musicians], and everything becomes about the sequences on Atlantic ['Trane's earlier record label]. It's clear to anybody that's listening to the music that the things he played on Impulse! ['Trane's later record label] had more emotional heft. But all anyone wants to talk about is the stuff on Atlantic."

On the new recording, Marsalis is not disavowing the complexity of what the band plays. It's a fine album, with original compositions and a couple standards. It is what the band and its players bring to the material that's important.

"The shit we play is complex. Listen to the record. But at the end of the day, when you hear people talking about why jazz is not popular, they have a million reasons. Radio, they're playing pop music. They blame all this bullshit. People who listen to music listen to really simple things. The song has to have a good beat, and the song has to have a melody they can relate to. When you listen to modern jazz, they have neither. They have guys who don't know how to play swing who are playing ostinato grooves that aren't funky at all. So they lose the groove part. The melodies aren't singable," he says.

When it comes to the complexities of jazz music and improvisation, "It ain't the audience's job to grasp that," Marsalis says. "That's our job. We're supposed to learn all that shit; then you communicate it to people in a way they can understand it."

The band may have "tunes" in mind, but Marsalis' playing is of the highest order. He improvises with intensity with a spirit that comes via the jazz masters before him. He's not playing in a more reachable style, like, say, Stanley Turrentine. "But I could," he avows. He revealed a recording on which Turrentine, playing with Max Roach in the 1950s [Historical Masters Volume 2: Max Roach and Friends (Jazz View, 1991)], is "fucking tearing it up. He's playing like Johnny Griffin. Burning it." An ear-opening listen to a selection proves that to be true. Turrentine is practically unrecognizable, he wails so heavily in the bebop idiom. Turrentine "could do it. Now, he couldn't do it as good as 'Trane did it, but he could do it. He didn't just walk in and say, 'Fuck that noise. Let me start playing some R&B.' He found something he could excel at, so he could be really good at that. And that makes perfect sense."

The Marsalis quartet can go both ways: playing more accessible music and blazing like mad. In performance, the saxophonist notes, the set list can depend on what type of audience is filling the room. "I know how to go in and out. We'll play 'Endymion' in Europe. We'll play 'In the Crease,' and the energy alone, people love it—big long drum solo. But there are older people who don't like it, so we'll turn around and play 'Our Love is Here to Stay,' and then they'll be happy. So that's how we go. We go in and out. We'll play one of our songs and then a standard. Or Joey writes beautiful ballads, so we'll play his ballad, and that wins everybody over."

He explains, "I want to play jazz. I have an informed opinion on it now. I'm not 22 anymore. I have a sense of what works and what doesn't work. There's slight adjustments you can make, and you can fuck around and accidentally have a 50-year career. Or you can choose not to do that. ... Everybody's had to deal with it. I don't have to do what Miles did [with rock-, funk- and pop-influenced material]. I don't have to go that far. It's one of those things. You have to make some choices."

Even when proceeding on a chosen path, there can be things—good and bad—that shake things up. Jazz is not static, nor is life. For Marsalis and his aggregation, something happened a couple years ago that revitalized the band, revitalized Marsalis as a player. That something came in the form of a new, young drummer, Justin Faulkner, who joined Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis with an unexpected but significant splash. Faulkner replaced the superb Jeff "Tain" Watts, who has been associated with Marsalis since the 1980s.

"First of all, he's listened to Tain," notes Marsalis, "so he has an advantage. He reminds me of how me and Tain were when we were in our 20s, which is, we were open to anything. [Faulkner] is open to anything. He brings that fucking youthful exuberance that we had when we were kids. The thing is, when you play with the same guys for a long period of time, we all grow old together. So you don't realize ... If you had interviewed me before Justin joined the band, I would say, 'Yeah, man. We play with intensity.' And we did, especially compared to what a lot of other guys are doing right now. But when Justin joined the band, by the end of the first gig, we were like, 'Jesus Christ.' Because that's what it means to have intensity. Because he's 20—he was 19 when he joined the band. He was just firing and never let up—kept going.

"He's not an established figure, so he keeps trying new ideas. Sometimes they fail, and sometimes they succeed. That's kind of what we were doing in the early years with Wynton. You just keep trying shit. After a while, you know what works, and there's always the temptation to just go with what works. But [Faulkner] comes out there, and he's trying to kill ya. He's playing for blood. It forces us to ratchet up what we did even more to match him. It's one of those things that you don't realize it's happening to you until it's happening to you," he says, chuckling at the situation. "He brings an enthusiasm. We thought we had it, but we didn't have it. He forced us to come up to it. It was good for all concerned."

The approach to recording Four MFs Playin' Tunes was relaxed, which is the typical way Marsalis likes to record. The tiniest hair out of place doesn't matter. It's more like the gates opening at Churchill Downs and letting the thoroughbreds charge out on the track. Calderazzo admits in a 2001 interview that he'd like to know more up front and have more preparation in the studio. But the laid-back approach prevails. And it works.

"I know Joey. He has a brilliant mind. Joey's the kind of dude that will take a song that he likes and practice it for three hours a day. So he gets it under his fingers, and from there he can go. But the thing I like about jazz and playing with jazz musicians is that if you have a skill set, I should be able to bring in a song—as long as it's not unreasonably complex—and you should be able to do something with it. Before the session, Joey was like, 'What are the tunes? You do this every time. What are the tunes?' I'm like, 'We'll get there. We'll get there," says Marsalis, an obvious twinkle in his eye.

He said of the selections on the recording, the band was playing "The Mighty Sword," "Endymion" and "Teo" on the road. But other songs were not played. "Jazz is kind of like anything else. I believe either you can play or you can't. If you give the average musician enough time, they're going to figure something to play on the shit. What separates them from the good ones is: You say, 'Here's the tune; let's go play it.' Some say, 'Yeah, let's go play it.' Then others say, 'Whoa. Wait. Can we rehearse first?'"

Four MFs Playin' Tunes is strong. Both Marsalis and Calderazzo feel it's among the band's best work. As for the band in total, Marsalis is more than pleased. It has a center, with enough flexibility that can add to the lexicon of the music. And it helps the band to continue to get work, which is important because that's where the money is made in today's music world: gigs. Recordings have shrunk in importance. Marsalis is proud when he talks about his group.

Calderazzo, says Marsalis, "has a fertile mind, and he hits the piano. It's a glorious return to the old days. He hits the fucking keys. He plays with intensity. ... If we had a pianist who didn't do that, we wouldn't be able to do it the way we do it. He plays with conviction. He's one of the few guys that has a fundamental grasp of ... He's incorporated a lot of traditional sounds, whereas a lot of guys feel you have to avoid that in order to sound, quote unquote, modern. You wind up sounding like a bunch of nothing, to my ears. He's able to do both. He plays all the harmony, heavy stuff. We can start playing songs like 'My Ideal,' and he sounds great playing it."

Bassist Revis has also been with Marsalis since the beginning of the quartet. "Who pulls the strings like him? Nobody. It's like being in a band with Israel Crosby [of Ahmad Jamal Trio fame]. And I think we're all committed to getting better, developing. ... Instead of having a band where everybody is good at the exact same thing, everybody brings something different. Joey has skill sets that are different that Revis' skill sets. I don't want to have a one-dimensional approach. But take everybody's skill set, everybody coming from different backgrounds, and you find the theme that unites everything, as opposed to getting everybody who can play sixteenth notes in their solos.

"It's the way I always envisioned it," he says with satisfaction. "It's the way we tried to be. I feel fortunate."

That speaks volumes, coming from a man who has recorded prolifically since bursting on the jazz scene in the 1980s in high-profile gigs that included Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and performances with Herbie Hancock where the rhythm section was classic Miles Davis, with Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums. He's also been a sideman on countless studio albums over the years and performed live with an array of artists that would be the envy of many musicians. In 2002, he founded his own record label, Marsalis Music, which has produced records by Miguel Zenon, Claudia Acuna, Harry Connick, Jr. and Jimmy Cobb, among others including his own. The sideman gigs, however, are now few and far between.

"It's not really a policy that I don't do sideman shit anymore. But you have to ask yourself sometimes why they want me on there," he says. "I'll give you an example. I got a call to do a record with a prominent guy. I said I'd be happy to do the record under the condition that you can't put my name on a sticker on the front of the cover. Two days later, they called me back and said, 'No thanks. We pass.' Think about how short- sighted the mindset was. I worked for Columbia Records. You cannot find me one smidgen of evidence that supports the idea that putting Ron Carter's name on a sticker increases sales. They do it anyway. They're driven by strategies that don't work."

As is his candid nature, Marsalis even criticized his own label when strategies were being planned for Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, the fine duet album that he and Calderazzo put out in 2011.

"People in the company started talking about a marketing plan. In jazz, that shit is ridiculous. Fucking marketing plan? For what? The marketing plan is rob a bank and then put the advertisement in Newsweek and Time magazines, consecutively. And then somebody might buy the fucker. Otherwise, we're playing for our aficionados and to our aficionados. I thought the best marketing plan we could have for the duo record, once I heard the shit, was that record itself. Because it's going to the kind of record that people will continue to like and enjoy and buy. So let's do like Kind of Blue. Let's give it a 15-year window. ... Let's just play it. We've done some [duo] gigs in the U.S. We've done some gigs in Europe. People find out about it, and more people call [asking for it], especially in Europe. The European populace has a knack for melody that goes beyond even the musicians that are playing now. The musicians that are playing now are in that overly complicated harmolodic phase. Countries like Germany and France, where they have classical traditions, they enjoy it."

Despite statements that may appear hard line, there isn't a line in the sand. That's not his point. Marsalis is frank. But there's no venom. In fact, there's far more humor than there is grave concern. He doesn't alter the fact that there are some things in the music business and on the music scene that irk him. But these days, they roll off his back. He has his family, and a cool life in North Carolina, that keeps him grounded. Live and let live.

"It used to bother me," he says of issues in the jazz world. "Joey and I often talk and complain about shit we hear. We complain about it, but talking about them is not going to make us better. If [other musicians'] goal is to get better, then they'll hear the shit we're talking about. If they don't hear it, OK. They hear it or they don't. To use a sports analogy, the guys who are often in first place are often in first place for a reason that has nothing to do with practicing hard, because they all practice hard. Where sports and music are similar is there are two things you have to have to do this shit well—or just about any job well. You have to have cognition and intuition. In order to have intuition, you have to have cognition first. The cognition is the hardest part to get.

"You can take a golf lesson, and the guy can show you seven points of the golf swing, and you can take that and swing like a robot. Step one, step two, step three, step four ... which is like: Here's a pattern you can play on this chord. Here's a pattern you can play on that. At some point, something in your head has to tell you, 'There's got to be a better way of doing this shit than the way I'm doing it.' That's when cognition kicks in because you have to figure it out, because nobody can really teach it to you. I can point a student in the general direction, but they have to go get it. You have a lot of guys, the way their mind works, they don't want to go get it. They want you to tell them what it is and practice it and repeat it, which is not improvisation. It's more like regurgitation. But hey, whatever works. Whatever floats their boat. ... That's how I feel about a lot of this shit. If people think it's great—there's no evidence of record sales or ticket sales that the shit is great—but if that's what they think is great, more power to them."

Marsalis himself has been through a lot of changes since his Young Lion days. He took advantage of many opportunities in the music business. And he admits that one high-profile situation eventually led him to a place where he refocused even harder on his career as an improvising musician.

Marsalis moved to NBC television and the Tonight Show gig, where he was based from 1992-1995. The money was sweet, and Marsalis was influential in getting some jazz bands booked with Jay Leno. Many a musician has settled in such a situation and lived the good—i.e., financially safe—life. It was a cool lifestyle. But for Marsalis, who was raised in the cradle of diverse improvisational music—New Orleans—and who made his bones successfully on the New York City scene, there was more of a calling. It came to a head during that time when he was summoned to play a concert with the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of Bobby McFerrin. He pulled it off, but not to his satisfaction. His chops were far from his own standards.

"It was just horrible," he recalls. "There are certain types of music where you can't just practice in the practice room, show up and do it. You can't do it with anything that's serious. ... It was one of those things where I had to decide if I wanted to be an entertainer or be a musician. I had to decide. It was two months after that, I decided to be a musician, so I made preparations to leave the show. The great thing about being on the show is you learn what you are. When you just play music, and if I had just done that, there would always be this thing: 'I wonder if I would have enjoyed this more? I wonder if I would have enjoyed that more?' When you get down to it, the idea of playing music poorly for a grateful audience that doesn't really know the difference—I couldn't square it in my head. So I made my exit because I had to. It's not a pejorative on other people or anything. It's because I had to."

He's not looked back. "Once you walk away from that kind of money, you got no fucking excuse. I made the decision. Abide by the decision," he says unabashedly. It's brought him appropriate acclaim as one of the top saxophonists in the music. His band, as he notes, never stops pushing. His underlying goal is to get better, to keep developing. The band is tight as hell and can move in different directions according to the mood of its members or the dictates of the audience. That kind of success, and those kinds of goals, are enough for Marsalis. There's a lot that goes into it and a lot that goes to sustaining it. It's hard work—a life's work.

Things like the NEA Jazz Masters award presented to the entire musical family—father and pianist Ellis, drummer Jason, trombonist Delfeayo, trumpeter Wynton and Branford—is not paramount. It's without ego that he explains it all.

"There was all this consternation: 'Those guys aren't masters. They don't deserve that award. Jason's 32. Delfeayo's this.' I was talking to a friend of mine who brought it up to me. He asked what I thought about [the controversy]. I said, 'Do you believe that a rising tide lifts all boats?' He said, 'Yeah.'" It's Marsalis' feeling that because of the notoriety of his family, the award got coverage in media outlets like CNN and Fox News, heretofore unheard of for jazz. People who never heard of the NEA award were suddenly aware of it.

"So it seems to me the NEA decided they were going to use this weird obsession with families that American culture has to elevate the award, because it made all kinds of press. People were talking about it that never talked about it before. Any number of people could have just stopped and breathed for a while and seen how it allows the NEA—in an era where everything's being defunded—to actually stay alive if they got enough press. In an era where small government was in and budgets got chopped down—music is the first place they go [to trim funds]. Instead, what is the discussion [in the jazz community], whether or not there are artistic merits for us to have the award? This is where the great disconnect comes in between musicians who play music and their understanding of its function within a culture. We didn't think we deserved the award. But I understood why they did it. And when the discussion becomes whether we deserve it, it's clear the people who talk about it don't know what they're doing. They don't understand the business of music and what this really is.

"I was happy for my dad. We didn't give a shit, to be honest. ... Jazz musicians are small minded, that's what it is. And a lot of people are small minded. But they're not in my profession, so they don't really matter to this discussion." He adds, "This year, they started bitching about Mose Allison [a 2013 recipient]: 'Does Mose Allison really deserve it?' I said more people have heard of Mose Allison than have heard of better players. And if you can use a guy like Mose Allison to get more awareness for the award, it's a good thing. So here we are again talking about the small picture. It's perpetually small-picture thinking.

"I say there's a disengaged understanding of the showbiz elements of music. Fucking Stravinsky got it. Strauss got it. Everybody got it. Even 'Trane got it." So Marsalis and company plan to push forward, presenting music that challenges but doesn't overwhelm—music that doesn't leap over the basic tenet of building and keeping an audience. And with Four MFs Playin' Tunes out there, he's not looking toward the next record project—unlike many other musicians who often seem to be planning the next one before the current one is even released.

"We tour for a living," states Marsalis. "That's what we do. We play concerts, so the records aren't really so important unless we have something to say. I think jazz musicians and people who write about it need to quit using pop-culture standards. It's not the same shit. The audiences are different. The venues are different. The raison d'etre is often different. So we don't have plans to make any record right now, because we just made one."

Good enough.

Selected Discography

Branford Marsalis Quartet, Four MFs Playin' Tunes (Marsalis Music, 2012)

Branford Marsalis/Joey Calderazzo, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (Marsalis Music, 2011)

Branford Marsalis Quartet, Braggtown (Marsalis Music, 2006)

Branford Marsalis Quartet, Eternal (Marsalis Music, 2004)

Branford Marsalis Quartet, Footsteps of our Fathers (Rounder Records, 2002)

Branford Marsalis, A Love Supreme Live (Marsalis Music, 2004)

Branford Marsalis, Contemporary Jazz (Columbia, 2000)

Branford Marsalis, Buckshot LaFonque (Columbia, 1994)

Horace Silver, It's Got to Be Funky (Columbia, 1993)

Branford Marsalis, I Heard You Twice the First Time (Columbia, 1992)

Grateful Dead, Without a Net (Artista, 1990)

Branford Marsalis, Trio Jeepy (Columbia, 1989)

Sting, Dream of the Blue Turtles (A&M, 1985)

Miles Davis, Decoy (Columbia, 1984)

Branford Marsalis, Scenes in the City (Columbia, 1984)

Wynton Marsalis, Think of One (Columbia, 1983)

Photo Credits

Page 1: Courtney Hawkes

Page 7: Courtesy of Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
b.1960
saxophone


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