Branford Marsalis Quartet plays Vilar Friday
Grammy-award winner Branford Marsalis brings his contemporary sounds to the stage in the form of the Branford Marsalis Quartet Friday night.
The saxophonist is one of the most influential contemporary musicians whose breadth ranges from performing with everyone from the Grateful Dead to symphony orchestras, but he plays the majority of his shows as the Branford Marsalis Quartet.
The acclaimed ensemble masterfully delivers both original compositions and interpretations of jazz standards and popular classics.
Their latest project, “The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul,” expresses a range of moods, which incorporate both classical and operatic elements. JazzTimes praised the quartet for raising “the creative stakes to incendiary levels,” by blending classical and operatic influences with jazz, blues, swing and solos.
Marsalis grew up soaking in the rich New Orleans culture and was initially recognized as a “young jazz lion.” He continued to grow as an instrumentalist, composer, bandleader and educator, winning three Grammy Awards, a Tony nomination as a composer on Broadway and a citation by the National endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master. His screen credits as a composer include Spike Lee’s “Mo Better Blues,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta,” which starred Oprah Winfrey, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, and the History Channel’s documentary, “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre,” for which he earned an EMMY nomination in 2021. He has also taught at several prominent universities throughout the nation, and co-founded Musician’s Village after Hurricane Katrina. The residential community in New Orleans uses music to help underserved children, youth and musicians from neighborhoods suffering from poverty and social injustice.
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He formed the quartet in 1986. Like Marsalis, the quartet has a rare breadth of stylistic range, which shines in their latest album.
Through the quartet, the Vilar continues to highlight some of the finest jazz musicians.
“Last winter we hosted an incredible evening with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. We are thrilled to get to know another member of the Marsalis family this winter, Wynton’s Grammy-winning brother and renowned saxophonist, Branford Marsalis, with his quartet,” said VPAC executive director Owen Hutchinson. “As we celebrate our 25th anniversary season, we reflect on the legendary jazz musicians who have played the VPAC stage in years past, including Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Kenny G, George Benson, Diana Krall, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Snarky Puppy and the list goes on. Jazz is often cited as America’s original art form; we look forward to continuing the legacy of jazz by the genre’s most prolific players tonight.”