Branford Marsalis to helm ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ soundtrack

Hear the bluesy track “El Train” now.

Branford Marsalis will score the upcoming Netflix film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. One of the tracks, “El Train,” is out now.

The snappy piece, just over a minute long, features jaunty sax and piano riffs over a recurring bassline. The film itself centers around the late “Mother of the Blues” Ma Rainey, portrayed by Viola Davis. It also stars the late Chadwick Boseman in a supporting role.

“When I signed on to direct, I instantly knew I wanted to work with Branford Marsalis,” director George C Wolfe said in a statement, “because when you collaborate with Branford the composer/arranger, Branford the historian, musicologist, dramatist, and raconteur shows up as well.


“And because he understands the inherently transgressive nature of the blues, Branford’s arrangements capture not only the cultural and regional DNA in Ma Rainey’s songs, but the wit and rage embedded in every note, shout, and moan.”

Both Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and its official soundtrack (via Milan Records) are out December 18. While you wait, listen to “El Train” below:

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