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Like It Is: The Branford Marsalis Interview

Bill Milkowski's extended conversation from the October issue

Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis Quartet: l. to r.: Joey Calderazzo, Marsalis, Justin Faulkner, Eric Revis
Branford Marsalis, 1987

To say that Branford Marsalis is forthcoming is an understatement. In an age when athletes, politicians and public figures have all been schooled in the art of saying nothing but innocuous platitudes intended to offend no one and reveal nothing, the three-time Grammy winner unapologetically speaks his mind. A veritable quote machine, he spews pointed statements like a verbal Gatling gun.

Being approachable, talkative and extremely opinionated makes Marsalis an ideal interview subject. Essentially, all you have to do is press the “record” button, toss in an occasional query, stand back and let him roll. And he never disappoints. Ask him anything and the ideas-grounded in logic, full of intelligence and wit and brimming with a daredevil disregard for the run-of-the-mill-come cascading off his tongue without hesitation, like his much-vaunted tenor and soprano sax playing.

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