I have to admit amongst all the other things going on I have been thinking about that whole Branford Marsalis rant on students and my initial response to it.  Although I don’t want to take back anything I said, I do however want to be a little more cautious with my words  and respond a little bit more thoughtfully.  I also want to make a few things clear.

a) I respect immensely, Branford’s musicianship and his many accomplishments as a saxophonist.  The Foresteps Of Our Fathers record some years back was a favorite of mine for a long time.  I will leave the rest of feelings alone as they are not important.

b) I eluded in my first reaction to this having several discussions with people whom I trust and respect having had issues and/or unpleasant experiences in their dealing with Mr. Marsalis. I however have never met him and probably never will but to paint him with a certain brush based on other people’s experiences would not be fair.

Okay on to the rant. I don’t really have a problem with what Branford was saying and happen to agree with him on almost all aspects. There are a myriad of issues that are very concerning with regards to the attitudes of young/student musicians.  Perhaps sometime I will write a post about what my feelings are on the subject.  There are big problems.  What I have an issue with is…although he shot straight from the hip and was brutally honest, was how he came across with what he said.  In the ‘jazz world’ Branford Marsalis is a powerful figure and when he speaks people listen.  I don’t think anyone including the students he refers to will respond or listen to him with the way he approached it.  He had an opportunity to be very honest but to also handle the situation in a much more productive and pro-active manner.  This is just my opinion.  I thought he made himself look rather stupid and came across very unprofessional in the whole thing. I thought he had an opportunity to make a positive impact and he chose to rant.

Just my two cents.



  1. I can certainly relate to some of the things Branford is saying, but is it possible that he was exaggerating for effect, both in terms of the percentage of his students that “are full of shit”, and the level of their “full of shit-ness”? I guess it’s possible that he had a tragically bad crop of students, but pretty unlikely. I can say that of the forty students in the jazz studies program at Western Washington University, NOT ONE of them I would describe this way. We’re all full of shit and we’re all students of one thing or another, so yeah, I guess I feel his rant was nothing to take too seriously.

  2. And hopefully it isn’t a case of attracting what you put out there yourself….I don’t think it is, but others might interpret it that way.

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