I'm having a good time chipping away at the transcription of my chat with Branford Marsalis, which I started mentioning on Tuesday. I've got a few more highlights to pull out over the next week, but here are a couple interesting exchanges to go with your morning coffee.
Marsalis: I was 14 or 15 years old the first time I heard Charlie Parker.
Me: That's surprising. I'd have thought that in the Marsalis house you would have come up on Parker and Coltrane since the day you were born.
Marsalis: You all buy that bullshit, don't you?
Marsalis: It's invented. My dad was a professional musician, he didn't have time to be inundating us with Coltrane music.
Later, Marsalis spoke about the difference between contemporary and classic jazz records.
Marsalis: One simple thing you notice between modern records and early records is that in early records, they played the hell out of the melody. They played the melody with a certain kind of emotional conviction.
Jazz was probably better when there was no jazz radio, so then they had to compete with all the pop stuff to get any kind of sound at all. So if you listen to the way Louis Armstrong plays the melody, or the way Sidney Bechet plays the melody, and listen to a modern trumpet player playing a melody, they play the melody almost as an essential part of a song and I gotta do it, but the most important part of the song to them is their solo, and that's the thing that they focus on the most.
In the place I'm in now, the solo almost doesn't matter. The solo's the least important part of the song.