Scenes from Branford Marsalis Event

A nice crowd turned out for the 90-minute event, filling the pews in the lower part of the Hayti Heritage Center sancutary, with the last 45 minutes being Q&A.  Many of the questions were about what can be done to make jazz hip.  Branford said he wasn’t worried about it – that his only concern is playing the best music he can play.  But there was agreement that the deadened “shhhhh” culture of the jazz clubs and the exclusive jazz club at large don’t help.  I played a clip from Monk’s 1958 Five Spot recording of “Misterioso” in which you can hear loud conversations from the audience during his solo.  Branford pointed out that Le Poussin Rouge in NYC is a positive new atmosphere for music.  There was also a lot of talk about the proliferating jazz programs in schools, much of which jibes with recent posts here about MFA writing programs.  Branford doesn’t blame the schools – the schools aren’t stopping anybody from playing great music – but there is a certain kind of individualism that is promoted, whereas in the era of the scene at 821 Sixth Avenue the music came from more of a shared tradition and repertoire.  I played clips of two tracks from his “Braggtown” album, named for a Durham neighborhood, which was recorded, as all of his albums in recent years, in the Hayti sanctuary.  Perhaps playing to his adopted home town crowd, Branford gave a number of plugs to North Carolina and the South in general, mentioning food and names like Faulkner and Welty and Tennessee Williams.  Current musicians he praised were Derek Trucks, Aaron Goldberg, Wynton and the J@LC band, Stephen Riley, Ben Wolfe, John Ellis, Prince, and the guys in Dave Matthews’ band.  Below are some photographs by Frank Hunter.  (There is no audio recording, we’re sorry to say).

-S.S.

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1 Comment

  1. Liz Partrick Said,

    February 11, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

    Wonderful and entertaining and interesting event! Thank you!