Marshal Royal

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Marshal Royal
Birth nameMarshal Walton Royal Jr.
Born(1912-12-05)December 5, 1912
Sapulpa, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedMay 8, 1995(1995-05-08) (aged 82)
Culver City, California
Instrument(s)Clarinet, saxophone

Marshal Walton Royal Jr. (December 5, 1912 – May 8, 1995)[1] was an American jazz alto saxophonist and clarinetist best known for his work with Count Basie, with whose band he played for nearly twenty years.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Marshal Royal Jr. was born into a musical family in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.[2]


Royal's first professional gig was with Lawrence Brown's band at Danceland in Los Angeles, and he soon had a regular gig at the Apex, working for Curtis Mosby in Mosby's Blue Blowers, a 10-piece band. He then began an eight-year (1931–1939) stint with the Les Hite orchestra at Sebastian's Cotton Club, which was near the MGM studios in Los Angeles. He spent 1940 to 1942 with Lionel Hampton, until the war interrupted his career.

With his brother, Ernie, he served in the U.S. Navy in the 45-piece regimental band that was attached to the Navy's preflight training school for pilots at St. Mary's College in Moraga, California. The band played for bond rallies, regimental reviews, at football games, and in concerts for the cadets and the community. Two swing bands were organized from the larger regimental band, and they played for smokers and dances at USOs and officers clubs. Royal was leader of the Bombardiers, one of those bands, which also included his brother, Ernie, Jackie Kelson (later known as Jackie Kelso), Buddy Collette, Jerome Richardson, and Vernon Alley.[3][4]

When he left Basie in 1970, Royal settled permanently in Los Angeles, continuing to play and record, working with Bill Berry's big band, Frank Capp and Nat Pierce, Earl Hines, and Duke Ellington. Royal recorded as a soloist with Dave Frishberg in 1977,[5] and with Warren Vache in 1978. He co-led a band with Snooky Young in the 1970s and 1980s, recording with it in 1978.[6]

Marshal died in Culver City, California on May 8, 1995, aged 82.[1]


As sideman[edit]

With Count Basie

With Kenny Burrell

With Clifford Coulter

With Coleman Hawkins

With Monk Montgomery

With Joe Newman


  1. ^ a b Leroy Ostransky; Barry Kernfeld; Howard Rye (20 January 2002). "Royal, Marshal (Walton, Jr.)". In Barry Kernfeld (ed.). Grove Music Online (8th ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.J388800. ISBN 978-1-56159-263-0.
  2. ^ a b Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-313-34423-7.
  3. ^ Royal (2001).
  4. ^ Walsh, Alex. "Earl Watkins—Mr. Lucky". Local 6 Archives. San Francisco, CA: Musicians Union Local 6.
  5. ^ Dave Frishberg GETTING SOME FUN OUT OF LIFE Concord Jazz LP cj-37
  6. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Snooky & Marshal's Album: Review by Scott Yanow". Retrieved 2015-04-11.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]