March 2001
THE SOUNDGARDEN : Q & A’s with today’s Musicians

Branford Marsalis

THE SOUNDGARDEN : Q & A’s with today’s Musicians

Shelby Jones (Washington D.C.)

Branford Marsalis is playing the Sax – Listen up!

At the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, Branford Marsalis added another Award to his collection by winning Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group for "Contemporary Jazz." You should have this album in your collection – no doubt. In between performances, family life and his own web-site,, the maestro managed to offer up some delightful answers to THE SOUNDGARDEN.

Eminem or Mos Def?

Eminem ain't got no soul....Mos Def is rock and roll...

Gore or Clinton?

The sax player would NEVER have lost to W.

Any Regrets?

There are always regrets. But they don't eat at me.

When you were 10, what was most important?

The Mod Squad was in COLOR!!!

Motown or Hollywood?

New Orleans

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Better tolerance for blatant stupidity...

Television Evangelist? What's up with that?

But enough about Oprah...

Music is to Rhythm as Golf is to_______?


Branford Marsalis

In life, there are only three things. What are they for you?

  1. Try to be like Mookie and do the right thing.

  2. Never allow other people's praise obscure your own self-criticism.

  3. Always judge a person by the content of their character, not the contents in their wallet.

  4. 4. One day, the Saints will win a Super Bowl...

Do you prefer touring or recording?

Meeting other people in other lands changes your point of view. As your view of the world changes, your music changes. If you don't have anything interesting to play, the record does you no good. Recordings, particularly jazz recordings, are a documentation of your progress as a musician. I guess you need both.

Who wins at arm-wrestling - you or Wynton?

I'm a little bigger than my bro. I'd put my money on me...

If love is the essence, then what is the key?

A-flat major.

Will you buy a ticket if the Jackson Five tour the nation?

No. I prefer music to events.

What if Michael joins them?

Even if Michael was there, see above answer.


Why yes, thank you very much...

Native Americans believe that one must climb to the top of a mountain to gain a perspective on the world beneath them. Where do you go to get your perspective in order?


Will a minority ever be President of the United States?


What is your motto?

Never get your willie caught in your zipper...

What is the most overrated virtue?

There's so little virtue in the world, I don't think it can be overrated.

If you could meet one person (dead or alive) who would it be?

My great, great, great grandfather. I would love to let him know that all of his years of degradation and indignity were for something, after all...

Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall. (Proverbs 16:18) Is this true?

I'm not sure. Ask Puffy. Then again that could just be from a lack of talent...

Who would take Jordan to the rack, Iverson or Kobe?

Either one. The bitch would be stopping Jordan...

Before you perform, do you have a ritual?

Yup. Show up on time.

To be successful. What does that mean to you?

Better at what you do than the layman's ability to comprehend it.

Branford Marsalis

Are athletes overpaid?

Yes. But the money's out there, and they're not going to give it to teachers, so it may as well go to them.

Are owners cheap?

You know anybody who LOVES to give money away?

When you are producing a project, what keeps you motivated?

The music.

When and where was your first professional performance?

A club called the Horse in New Orleans in 1974. We had an R&B band called The Creators. We played on a Monday night for the door, and made 75 cents each. We used it to catch the bus home.

If you were not a musician/actor/producer/professor -- what would you do and where would you do it?

I'd be a history teacher. Probably on the college level. Preferably at a Black College...

You have had the blessing to explore your musical talents and you have also performed as an actor. What advice can you offer to young artists that have that type of ambidextrous power?

Always try to learn from what you do. Be humble before it. Do not mistake popularity for excellence.

This years Presidential Election was a big flippin mess. Do you think it was unduly administered and nudged by certain powers in favor of George Dubya?

It was the first judicial coup in our history. But the finger-pointing has to go to Gore more than the folks who won it for Dubya. To assume that there would be no attempts to minimize the black vote in the South was a HUGH mistake.