Jazz, Branford Marsalis, and the saxophone

My dad loved Jazz, every road trip we did I was in charge of the playlist; a bunch of jazz cassettes. Since his passing in 2015 I have not really re-visited the genre, it still hurts.

But the other day I got an offer I could not refuse: an invitation to see Branford Marsalis, in Miami.

My mind was blown to smithereens in the Summer of 1985, when Sting released his first “solo” album; The Dream of the Blue Turtles, heavily Jazz influenced, and featuring Marsalis’ saxophone. I was already a fan of Sting from The Police (drummer Stewart Copeland went to the same school as me in London a few years before me), but now I was turned onto Marsalis.

The first and only time I got to see Marsalis was with his New Orleans buddy Harry Connick Jr. in New York City in the late 80’s. I still remember that concert!

Last Tuesday. My old student –and Cine Forum founder– Will, invited a Peabody Conservatory friend and me to see Marsalis play the works of James Reese Europe. A musician who fought in World War I, only to be stabbed to death upon his return to the US by a drummer in Boston, such is life.

Marsalis only played a handful of numbers, but it was beautiful and well worth it. Will, Michelle and I enjoyed a nice dinner at El Chalán, a walk around South Beach, the concert, and a farewell drink at the Royal Palm Hotel where Will was staying. A perfect evening.

Speaking of Cine Forum, this month we are watching Taxi Blues, Ida, and Stilyagi (Hipsters) all  Russian (Ida is Polish) and all feature the saxophone as a central character, what a coincidence!

Oh, by the way, Branford has a brother Wynton, who is possibly the most amazing trumpet player you can listen to!!

One thought on “Jazz, Branford Marsalis, and the saxophone

  1. Sounds like an amazing evening Antonio. While I was in the music school at Michigan State, Branford was a visiting professor with the jazz program for a year. Even though I wasn’t a jazz student, it was incredible to watch his master classes and hear him perform. His presence definitely elevated the performance level of the e entire jazz program.


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