Marshal Royal

Marshal Royal, Jr. was an American clarinettist and alto saxophonist best known for his work with Count Basie, with whose band he played for nearly twenty years.

Marshal Royal Jr. was born into a musical family in Oklahoma, the elder brother of trumpeter Ernie Royal, and learned to play piano, violin, guitar, clarinet and sax while still a child. The family had moved to Los Angeles, California by the time he was five, and he always considered himself to be a Californian. His mother, Ernestine Walton Royal, began giving him piano lessons when he was three, and his father, from Sherman, Texas, began teaching him violin when he was six. (Royal notes in his memoir: “We seem to be only people named 'Marshal' who spell it with only one 'L.'”) Because his father was such a successful music teacher in Sherman, a street there is named for him: Music Street.

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