Branford Marsalis started out classically trained, playing in marching bands and in youth orchestras. That is, until his teenage years, when his focus shifted, albeit briefly, to rhythm and blues.
“By 19, I gravitated toward jazz,” he said. “But I never was far from classical music, which has always been a part of my life. Classical, jazz, R&B, rock, it doesn’t matter. I love them all. The music is emotionally the same, just the delivery is different.”
The Branford Marsalis Quartet plans to return to Segerstrom Concert Hall on Jan. 25. The Grammy-winning ensemble, in operation for nearly 33 years, is in the midst of a nine-concert California tour that concluding at the Costa Mesa venue.
“The musicians are all great, they project well on their instruments,” Marsalis said. “We know how to create colors. And we’re all charismatic. You learn from listening to each other.”
Their latest recording, “The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul,” is scheduled for a March release.
The jazz great says he is continuing to evolve as a musician.
“In 2018, I’m not the same player I was in 1988,” he said. “It’s very easy to rest on one’s laurels, so [that] a performance is just a revival and we’d play the music the same way every time. But we fought against that feeling, and I’m most proud of that.”
Michael Rydzynski is a contributor to Times Community News.
IF YOU GO
Who: The Branford Marsalis Quartet
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 25
Where: Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
Cost: Tickets start at $59