By KYLER SUMTER
“If you’re not afraid to fail, you’ll go far,” Grammy-award winning Jazz legend and saxophonist Branford Marsalis said to music students at Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., when he visited on Wednesday, June 14.
Marsalis visited to work with students in piano instructor Bethany Pickens’ class.
Pickens, who is also a noted jazz pianist, credited Marsalis and his brother, fellow jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, for turning her toward her passion: acoustic music.
“That kind of music was not what I was hearing on the radio,” Pickens said to the crowd of around 25 students and faculty. “It was Earth, Wind & Fire and all these different groups that were electric oriented and they were playing some really hip music but they weren’t playing acoustic music, so he and his brother are the reason I’m even dealing with the piano at all.”
Pickens said Marsalis was a musical chameleon in the way that he could, “blend in with any environment. You could see him this week at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, you could’ve seen him as music director of The Tonight Show, you could’ve seen him play with Sting, you could’ve seen him even play with The Grateful Dead.”
The event kicked off with a performance of “Billy’s Bounce” with Marsalis on saxophone, Pickens on drums, recent Kenwood graduate Charles Morgan on piano, and sophomore…
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