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Wynton Marsalis On Ed Bradley

Full Transcript Of Steve Kroft's Interview

The day after Ed Bradley passed away, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft interviewed jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis in New York City. Marsalis, a friend of Ed's, is artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

STEVE KROFT: You remember the first time you met Ed?

WYNTON MARSALIS: I think the first time I ever met him that he would know me was in the early 1990's.

STEVE KROFT: What was your impression?

WYNTON MARSALIS: Well, I grew up kind of in the 1970's. I was a teenager then when Ed first got in 60 Minutes. Like all the other younger Afro- Americans, we were impressed with him and in awe of him really. His sense of culture, his intelligence, his clarity, and his soul. He had that combination, you know, of that soul and that deep sophistication.

STEVE KROFT: Tell me about his soul.

WYNTON MARSALIS: Oh, man. You know, they say that soul is when you have the ability to make other people feel better about being alive, regardless of their condition, and he projected that in such abundance. The level of his integrity as a man. And then, above those things, the sense of humor that makes you not be elitist or lofty. He was just as down home, somebody who could take their shoes off and sit and just talk to you like somebody in a barber shop. He could also be as erudite as the top professor in the halls of erudition and scholarship. He possessed that rare combination. And then the feeling, the humanity, the feeling and the sense of culture, of history, of the grandeur of being alive. He had that, and he was willing to give that to you.

STEVE KROFT: Did you spend time with him at Jazz Fest?

WYNTON MARSALIS: I spent time with in many different places. You know, a lot of times, it was at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He would be up on the stage, you know; he wanted to be playing with cats. So he'd get him a tambourine. And then you had to hear about how he played with Dizzy. "Yeah, Dizzy called me up on the stage. And you know, Miles brought me out in 19 so and so. And I came out and I played with Miles." He was trying to get on the bandstand.

STEVE KROFT: Why do you think?

WYNTON MARSALIS: I think he loved music. He loved a good time. And above all, he was a man of culture. The last time I saw him out with Patricia [Ed's wife, Patricia Blanchet] was at Noche Flamenco, which is a great flamenco show that was downtown. I went. I didn't know he was going. And I looked up, there he is. I would see him all around New York City. He'd be at the Met. He was a cultured, very intelligent cultured man. He's comfortable everywhere. Either the outhouse or the penthouse. He could make it work.

STEVE KROFT: He liked to have a good time.

WYNTON MARSALIS: He brought a good time. He loved to have a good time, which we all like to have, but he loved to bring a good time.

STEVE KROFT: Music is one of the most important things in his life. What can you tell me about that? Ed and his music.

WYNTON MARSALIS: Well, Ed is a musician. He is a musician. He's a jazz musician. He's an improviser. He liked all kinds of people. He liked all kinds of music. He didn't have like any kind of elitism. At heart, he was a jazz musician because he liked to improvise. That's why he was so good at his job. He could accept a person for what they're worth. He didn't come to you trying to make you be a certain thing, and he would listen to you. A musician's whole life is to listen. All musicians do is listen all the time. You're not playing most of the time you're on a band stand. You're listening, you know, and he was such a great listener. He also had that heart of a musician, you know. That type of lyricism. It's in his language.