At age 16, jazz violinist Graham Marshall has come full circle. The Reno musician will appear this weekend at Moody’s Bistro in Truckee, where he has been studying jazz music since age ten.
“It’s an incredibly valuable experience,” Marshall said of Moody’s Jazz Camp, held in Truckee in late July.
Marshall was first introduced to music by his father at a young age. A longtime professional jazz bassist, Scot Marshall studied with jazz great Rufus Reid in New York City before moving to Reno in the late ‘80s, he said.
Graham Marshall started playing violin at age 5, but did not immediately take to jazz.
“I had a teacher that was really into classical opera stuff and country, fiddle stuff,” he said. “That was mainly what I played. I actually really, really hated jazz for a long time, I don’t really remember why.”
It was at age 10 that he first began to appreciate the genre, he said. That was also when he began attending Moody’s owner J.J. Morgan’s summer jazz event.
“We found out there was a jazz camp at Moody’s and we decided to go down,” Graham Marshall said.
Shy at first, the young violinist quickly took a liking to the program. He has returned every year since, and began instructing string players last summer. Scot Marshall also teaches at the camp.
“It really helped me blossom as an artist, if I can consider myself an artist,” Graham Marshall said. “I really like the fostering of different genres of jazz instead of just sticking with standard Preservation Hall stuff.”
For Scot Marshall, watching his son develop into an accomplished violinist has been a proud experience.
“It’s so fulfilling to see just how much love he has for playing,” the father said.
Now, the young musician will take the stage at Moody’s, appearing there Friday night with a trio including Scot Marshall (bass) Alex Miller (guitar) and Tony Savage (drums).
The group covers a lot of sonic ground onstage. Graham Marshall mentioned Freddy Hubbard as a big influence, citing his love of funk-inspired jazz and new interpretations of jazz standards. The group also features a number of jazz arrangements of classic rock tunes.
“Besides Miles and Coltrane things, we’re throwing in Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and Sting and Dave Matthews tunes here and there,” Scot Marshall said.
“It’s such a mixed bag we’re never really quite sure what we’re going to play, so hopefully there’ll be a surprise,” Graham Marshall said. “As long as everyone’s having a good time and they really enjoyed the music and you can tell that they liked it, I consider it a success in my book.”