As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed to the public as of Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.
Branford Marsalis comes from the famous musical family of Louisiana Marsalises, although his reputation has always been somewhat overshadowed by that of his brother Wynton. Nonetheless, he is a talented saxophonist—playing all four kinds of the instrument—in his own right. He has performed with some notable ensembles, including the Jazz Messengers, as well as groups fronted by Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. As live jazz became a precarious way to make a living, Branford started playing and recording pop and classical music; he also had a long-running gig (1992–95) as the leader of the Tonight Show’s house band. He has taught music at several universities and has been a leader in the movement to revive the New Orleans jazz and cultural scene after Hurricane Katrina.