Wharton Center Presents: Branford Marsalis

E. LANSING, MI — Get ready to turn up the volume as three time Grammy award-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis energizes Wharton Center’s Great Hall stage.  Known throughout the globe, Branford not only brings the renowned Marsalis name back to East Lansing, but also an exuberant night of virtuosic, live-in-concert playing.  “Intricacy and intensity go hand-in-hand” says the Newark Star-Ledger, “a realm of sensual riches that offer all kinds of ways to nourish the spirit…” affirms Jazziz.  Dominant in both jazz and classical genres, Branford is continually innovating musical expression and expanding it to its outmost bounds.  Join us for this exciting MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz at Wharton Center, Michigan Radio Wildcard event.

Earning his first Grammy of Best Jazz Instrumental Performance in 1992 for I Heard You Twice the First Time, Branford has since added a Best Pop Instrumental Performance with Bruce Hornsby in 1993 for Barcelona Mona and Best Instrumental Album for Contemporary Jazz in 2000 with his Branford Marsalis Quartet.  Numerous other Grammy nominations and best-of-year lists also complement the collection of this acclaimed saxophonist.

Although he is best known for his jazz recordings, Marsalis has continued to explore classical music, which is demonstrated through his album Creation that features a collaboration with the American chamber orchestra Orpheus.  Branford is “an innovative jazz saxophonist who also happens to be a classical performer with phenomenal technique” says Wes Phillips of onhifi.com.  Marsalis has also been featured with symphonies across America and Europe, including Chicago, Seattle, Baltimore and Düsseldorf.

Based upon his experience as a saxophonist, composer and bandleader, Marsalis recognized the need to form a label that allows a diverse array of musicians to document their best efforts. Launched in 2002, Marsalis Music has focused primarily on jazz, with a roster featuring such promising new artists as Doug Wamble and Miguel Zenón as well as Marsalis himself and such established stylists as Joey Calderazzo and Harry Connick, Jr.  Also having the desire to shape the future of jazz in the classroom, Marsalis Jams was conceived and founded as an educational initiative of Marsalis Music.  His latest release under the label is the Quartet’s album, Braggtown, released in September of 2006.        

This celebrated musician was the first appointee to the Catherine Herrick Cobb Distinguished Lectureship here at Michigan University, where he extended his year-long agreement, becoming a part-time faculty member and advisor until Spring 2000. 

There will be a PreView lecture in the Stoddard Grand Tier Lounge 45 minutes before the show begins.  PreView lectures are free, half-hour discussions presented by industry experts that provide unique insight into the performance.