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Branford Marsalis

About this Artist

New Orleans-born Branford Marsalis is an award-winning saxophonist, band leader, classical soloist, and a film and Broadway composer. In the process, he has become a multi-award-winning artist, with three Grammys and a citation by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master and an avatar of contemporary artistic excellence.    

The Branford Marsalis Quartet, formed in 1986, remains his primary means of expression. In its virtually uninterrupted three decades-plus of existence, the Quartet has established a rare breadth of stylistic range as demonstrated on the band’s latest release, The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul. But Branford has not confined his music to the jazz quartet context. A frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Branford has become increasingly sought after as a soloist with acclaimed orchestras around the world, performing works by composers such as Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, Vaughan Williams, and Villa-Lobos. His legendary guest performances with the Grateful Dead and collaborations with Sting have also made him a fan favorite in the pop arena.  

His work on Broadway has garnered a Drama Desk Award and Tony nominations for the acclaimed revivals of Children of a Lesser God, Fences, and A Raisin in the Sun. His screen credits include original music composed for Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, starring Oprah Winfrey; and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the Netflix film adaptation of two-time Pulitzer Prizewinner August Wilson’s play, produced by Denzel Washington and released in December 2020.