Branford Marsalis has stayed the course. From early acclaim as a saxophonist, bringing new energy and new audiences to jazz, he has refined and expanded his talents and horizons as a musician, composer, bandleader and educator – a 21st-century mainstay of artistic excellence.
Growing up in the rich environment of New Orleans, as the oldest son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Branford was drawn to music along with siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. A growing fascination with jazz, as he entered college, gave him the basic tools to obtain his first major jobs, with trumpet legend Clark Terry and alongside Wynton in Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers.
Branford formed his own quartet in 1986 and, with a few minor interruptions in the early years, has sustained the unit as his primary means of expression. Known for the telepathic communication among its uncommonly consistent personnel, its deep book of original music replete with expressive melodies and provocative forms, and an unrivaled spirit in both live and recorded performances, the Branford Marsalis Quartet has long been recognized as the standard to which other ensembles of its kind must be measured.
The Branford Marsalis Quartet, April 26, at Flato Markham Theatre. Visit markhamtheatre.ca for details.