Branford Marsalis & Friends Perform Benefit For North Carolina Symphony June 2


Performances include Rhiannon Giddens and Kruger Brothers 

Branford Marsalis and some talented friends will present an evening of unforgettable performances from across the musical spectrum on Tuesday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Meymandi Concert Hall. The Grammy Award-winning saxophonist joins forces with Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the bluegrass supergroup the Kruger Brothers, as they join North Carolina Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn and the orchestra for a one-of-a-kind concert to benefit the North Carolina Symphony’s statewide service and education programs.  Mr. Marsalis, Ms. Giddens, and the Kruger Brothers are all donating their performances for the benefit.

NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and Tony Award-nominee composer Branford Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time.  The three-time Grammy Award-winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising new and established artists.  Mr. Marsalis is also a board member of the North Carolina Symphony Society, Inc.

Leader of one of the finest jazz Quartets today, and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, He has become increasingly sought after as a featured soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the Chicago, Detroit, Düsseldorf, and North Carolina Symphonies and the Boston Pops, with a growing repertoire that includes compositions by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem and Vaughn Williams.

In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts conferred the prestigious Jazz Masters Fellowship on the Marsalis Family, a celebration and acknowledgement of a family described by the New York Times as “jazz’s most storied living dynasty”, who have made an indelible mark, collectively and individually, on the history and the future of jazz, America’s art form.  Mr. Marsalis will be joined by Joey Calderazzo on piano, Jason Foureman on bass, and Kobie Watkins on drums.

Rhiannon Giddens, a North Carolina native, plays with the influential group the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and has begun an absolutely meteoric solo career, beginning with the T Bone Burnett-curated, September 2013 Another Day, Another Time concert at New York City’s Town Hall — a celebration of the early ’60s folk revival that had inspired the Coen brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis.  Near the end of the first half of the concert, an extraordinary star-is-born moment occurred and singer Ms. Giddens indisputably stole the show. Performing Odetta’s “Water Boy” with, as The New York Times later put it, “the fervor of a spiritual, the yips of a folk holler, and the sultry insinuation of the blues,” Giddens brought the celebrity-studded audience to its feet. Backstage, Burnett was immediately moved to ask if he could produce a record with her. The stunning result of their collaboration, Tomorrow Is My Turn, which deftly incorporates folk, jazz, gospel and the blues, served as Giddens’ solo debut record in February.

Born and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger started singing and playing instruments at a very young age. Growing up in a family where music was an important part of life, they were exposed to a wide diversity of musical influences. The brothers were performing regularly by the time they were 11 and 12 years old, and they began their professional career in 1979. The brothers’ first public performances were as a duo, and in just a few years, they were busking on the streets of cities throughout eastern and western Europe. Several years later, the brothers teamed up with bass player Joel Landsberg, a native of New York City who also had a very extensive musical upbringing in classical and jazz music (studying with jazz great Milt Hinton), thus forming a trio that has been playing professionally together since 1995. Together, they established the incomparable sound that the Kruger Brothers are known for today. The trio moved to the United States in 2002 and is based in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Tickets to Branford Marsalis & Friends range from $27 to $75.  For more information, go to the North Carolina Symphony’s website at, or call 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724.

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