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Marshal Royal was a core member of the Count Basie Orchestra for twenty years during its resurgence in the 1950s and 1960s. Before that, he was a pioneer of jazz on the West Coast, playing with many bands in and around Los Angeles. A child prodigy of both the violin and saxophone, Royal was literally born on the road as his musician parents made their way West.
Royal shares his experiences with Les Hite's band at Sebastian's New Cotton Club, where he worked with jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. He became a founding member and 'straw boss' of Lionel Hampton's Orchestra after a wartime career in U.S. Navy bands. After leaving Hampton, Royal made countless recordings as a freelancer before joining Basie, where he was responsible for rehearsing the Orchestra. Later, he became internationally known as a soloist while continuing his prolific recording career. His brother, Ernie, who was a star trumpeter in the bands of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, is also profiled.
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