Wynton Marsalis’ return to 60 Minutes
It’s a rare and special thing for the subject of a 60 Minutes story to switch from answering the questions to asking them, but for CBS News’ Wynton Marsalis, that’s exactly what happened.
Nearly two decades ago, Ed Bradley first reported on a young Marsalis and his blooming jazz career. In 2004, Marsalis was again profiled by Bradley (watch that full story in the video player above) and, this week, the renowned musician returns to the broadcast as a first-time 60 Minutes correspondent with a story about a little-known jazz talent.
“I think if Ed were alive, Ed would have been fighting tooth and nail to do the piece himself, first of all,” says 60 Minutes David Browning, who produced this week’s story with Marsalis. “But I think if he couldn’t do it, he would have felt that Wynton was the obvious guy to do it.”
The subject of Marsalis’ first 60 Minutes story is blind jazz pianist Marcus Roberts. Browning calls it “the direct result of Ed Bradley’s good work on behalf of jazz many, many years ago.”
Bradley was a well-known jazz fan, and back in the 90s, Bradley and Marsalis developed a friendship working side-by-side in New York City on the board of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Marsalis, the board’s artistic director, told Bradley on 60 Minutes that he wanted to take jazz from the intimate basement clubs to the grand stage.
After 10 years and $128 million, he was almost ready to unveil a new home in Manhattan for jazz: a three-performance venue in the Time Warner Center. Below is one exchange between Bradley and Marsalis on the staggering price tag:
BRADLEY: $128 million for jazz?
MARSALIS: It’s something. Something—you know, I’m from Kenner, Louisiana, you know something like $128 million, I can understand the 100 and the 28. When you put that million after it…
BRADLEY: Nothing like this has ever been done for jazz.
MARSALIS: No. Nothing close to this has ever been done.
Bradley and Marsalis would remain friends for years after the 1995 story aired. When Bradley died in 2006, Marsalis appeared on the broadcast to perform some of Bradley’s favorite tunes.
This week, in his debut as a reporter on 60 Minutes, Marsalis says he’s “honored” to follow Bradley’s footsteps.
“Ed Bradley was my main man, absolutely, of all time,” Marsalis tells 60 Minutes Overtime. “I loved him. I learned a lot from him.”
“Ed brought jazz to 60 Minutes in many respects,” says Browning. “I hope he’d be proud of all of us on this one.”