NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Happy Birthday to New Rochelle's Branford Marsalis.
Branford Marsalis, a long time New Rochelle resident, turns 54 on Friday.
Marsalis, a saxophonist, composer and bandleader, was born Aug. 26, 1960, in Breaux Bridge, La. While primarily known for his work in jazz as the leader of the Branford Marsalis Quartet, he also performs frequently as a soloist with classical ensembles and has led the group Buckshot LeFonque.
In 1985, he joined Sting, singer and bassist of pop band The Police, on his first solo project, "The Dream of the Blue Turtles." He became a regular in Sting's line-up both in the studio and live up until the release of "Brand New Day" in 1999.
In 1994, Marsalis appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD, "Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool." The album, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic in AfricanAmerican society was named Album of the Year by Time. In 1988, Marsalis co-starred in the Spike Lee film "School Daze," also rendering several horn-blowing interludes for the music in the film. His witty comments have pegged him to many memorable one-liners in the film.
From 1992 to 1995, Marsalis was the leader of The Tonight Show Band on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Between 1990 and 1994, he played with the band Grateful Dead several times. On May 15, 2012, Marsalis received an honorary doctor of music degree from the University of North Carolina.
In June 2012, Marsalis, alongside friend and fellow New Orleans native Harry Connick, Jr., was honored by the Jefferson Awards for Public Service for his work in the Musicians' Village of New Orleans. On March 26, 2013, Marsalis received the degree of doctor of arts leadership from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota.