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!!