Marsalis adds brassy clauses to ‘Shannon’s Deal’

Eight-time Grammy-winning musician Wynton Marsalis, who cut his first record at only 18, has at age 27 carved out another facet in his versatile career: scoring television movies.

Tonight, his work — heavy on the brass, as you might expect — is featured on NBC’s “Shannon’s Deal,” starring Jamey Sheridan as a disillusioned Philadelphia lawyer who becomes embroiled in an international drug smuggling case. “I really enjoyed this,” said Marsalis. “It’s a different thing. I learned a lot. Stan Rogow, the producer, told me what he wanted in different scenes. I wrote some preliminary scenes, and then we’d go in the studio.”

This isn’t the first time Marsalis has tried his hand at scoring for TV. He wrote the music for the animated installment about the Wright Brothers on CBS’ “This Is America, Charlie Brown” history series.
This summer Marsalis and his trumpet will show up at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, and in the winter he’ll be back at Blues Alley, where he has appeared many times.

“I like to stay out,” he said, explaining that he composes while he’s out on tour. It’s not difficult, he maintained. “That’s how Duke wrote all that music, just thousands and thousands of songs, while he was on tour.” Marsalis admires Duke Ellington tremendously, so much so that he won’t tolerate the suggestion that with a long career ahead of him, he might achieve similar success. “Doo-oo-oo-ke,” he crooned. “Nobody can fill his shoes. I wish I could even get on the level for him to be an influence on me.”

The only musician ever to win the Grammy for a jazz album and one for classical music during the same awards presentation, Marsalis has made “eight or nine records that are not out yet. All are jazz. I’m getting ready to go back and do classical, modern sonatas for trumpet, and one with {soprano} Kathleen Battle, if she’ll do it.”

His latest release is “The Majesty of the Blues,” featuring the New Orleans-style jazz from Dixieland and the blues to a New Orleans funeral march.

Growing up in New Orleans as one of six children, Wynton Marsalis wanted to be a jazz musician. His father, Ellis, loved and played the music, but never made a living as a jazz musician. But Ellis Marsalis worked for jazzman Al Hirt, who gave 6-year-old Wynton his first trumpet.
Marsalis said he realized that among musicians in his age group, “not that many people were playing jazz. The new jazz they were playing wasn’t jazz,” at least not the sort of jazz he loved, such as that played by John Coltrane, for example. His music teacher insisted that he do classical music as well as jazz, “just to be dealing with something serious.
I started checking out classical music. I like classic,” he said, “but I like jazz way more.”


By Patricia Brennan
Source: Washington Post

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