Branford Marsalis makes it on his own

September 23, 1990|By Cox News Service

Branford Marsalis. Name ring a bell?

"Most people don't know who I am," the musician claims.

However, some may recognize him as the brother of the eminent classical/jazz trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis. And anyone familiar with rock star Sting's last three albums has heard the saxophonist at work.

But he is on his own, or at least with his Branford Marsalis Quartet, as he performs across the country.

He enjoyed touring with and playing on albums for Sting, "Dream of the Blue Turtles" and ". . . Nothing Like the Sun." But he balked at the idea that his contribution added a jazzy touch to the rock music.

"It was more complex," he clarified, "but not jazzy. I enjoyed it. Sting was much hipper than other guys who make you play the same solo every night."

Beyond that, Mr. Marsalis, 30, is a Grammy-nominated artist who has worked with a diverse array of artists that include jazz greats such as Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Hancock, and rock and pop singers Tina Turner and Teena Marie. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., and the Berklee School of Music in Boston.

Among his best known recordings, for Columbia, are Fathers and Sons (with father Ellis Marsalis), Scenes in the City (1984), Romances for Saxophone and Royal Garden Blues (both 1986), Renaissance (1987) Random Abstract (1988) and last year's Trio Jeepy.

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