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Branford Marsalis’ Secret

The acclaimed tenor saxophonist discusses the key to maintaining his long-running quartet, his hometown, his father, and why he doesn’t consider Kamasi Washington a jazz player

Branford Marsalis (photo: Eric Ryan Anderson)

“I’m ready when you are.”

Branford Marsalis does not waste time. In the handful of minutes since we shook hands in the lobby of his New York hotel, the saxophonist has marched into the adjacent restaurant, picked a window table, and ordered coffee and a pastry. He’s still looking at his cellphone, scrolling for last-minute messages, when he fires the starting gun for this interview.

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David Fricke

David Fricke has written about music for more than four decades for publications including Rolling Stone, MOJO, the late great British weekly Melody Maker and now JazzTimes. He is a DJ at Sirius XM Radio, a Grammy-nominated writer of album liner notes and a three-time winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism.