Branford Marsalis, NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award‐winning saxophonist, and Tony Award nominee, will perform at Smothers Theatre, Malibu, on Tuesday, May 6, at 8 p.m. He will be joined by his acclaimed quartet, hailed as one of the most innovative jazz ensembles around today. This event is sponsored by the Office of Andrew K. Benton, President of Pepperdine University.
Marsalis is among the most revered instrumentalists of his time. Leader of one of the finest jazz quartets and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, he continues to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist and a composer.
The three-time Grammy winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world's most promising new and established artists.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Center for the Arts website.
Marsalis made his Broadway debut as the composer of original music for the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of August Wilson's play Fences. He received a Tony nomination in the category of Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre and a 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play for his participation. Following these successes, he was asked to score the 2011 Broadway premiere of The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett.
Leader of one of the finest jazz quartets today and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Marsalis has become increasingly sought-after as a featured soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the Chicago, Detroit, Düsseldorf, and North Carolina symphonies and the Boston Pops, with a growing repertoire that includes compositions by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, and Vaughan Williams.
Making his first appearance with the New York Philharmonic in the summer of 2010, Marsalis was again invited to join them as soloist in their 2010-2011 concert series, where he unequivocally demonstrated his versatility and prowess, bringing "a gracious poise and supple tone . . . and an insouciant swagger" (TheNew York Times) to the repertoire.
In 2011 the National Endowment for the Arts conferred the prestigious Jazz Masters Fellowship on the Marsalis family, a celebration and acknowledgement of a family described by The New York Times as "jazz's most storied living dynasty."
Having gained initial acclaim through his work with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and his brother Wynton's quintet in the early 1980s, Marsalis also performed and recorded with a who's-who of jazz giants, including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, and Sonny Rollins. He has also collaborated with such diverse artists as Sting, the Grateful Dead, and Bruce Hornsby.
Dedicated to changing the future of jazz in the classroom, Marsalis has shared his knowledge at such universities as Michigan State, San Francisco State, Stanford, and North Carolina Central, with his full quartet participating in an innovative extended residency at the NCCU campus.
Beyond these efforts, he is also bringing a new approach to jazz education to student musicians and listeners in colleges and high schools through Marsalis Jams, an interactive program designed by Marsalis in which leading jazz ensembles present concert/jam sessions in mini-residencies. Marsalis Jams has visited campuses in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Southwest, and later established an ongoing Marsalis Berklee Jams series with the Berklee College of Music.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans native joined forces with friend Harry Connick, Jr., to conceive the New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village, the newly constructed community in the city's historic Upper Ninth Ward that provides new homes for displaced residents, including displaced musicians and their families. At the heart of the Village stands the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a magnificent facility with performance, instructional, and practice spaces and a recording studio.
Whether on the stage, in the recording studio, in the classroom, or in the community, Marsalis embodies a commitment to musical excellence and a determination to keep music at the forefront.