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What the heck?! Wynton Marsalis joins CBS News

The legendary jazz musician meets with youngsters in

The legendary jazz musician meets with youngsters in Friends Academy's jazz band. Videojournalist: Mario Gonzalez (March 15, 2011)

This is either one of the better moves of the year in TV news or one of the more really really really unusual moves of the year in TV news. Let's go for both. Wynton Marsalis is joining CBS News as its cultural correspondent. 

“Wynton Marsalis and CBS News have a strong connection that goes back many years,” said Jeff Fager, CBS chairman, in a statement. “His appearances on ‘60 Minutes,’ including his part in our tribute to the great Ed Bradley, were memorable, and the beautiful sounds of his trumpet adorn the network every single week with the fanfare that opens ‘Sunday Morning.’ Now our viewers will benefit from a regular dose of his insights and observations about American culture.”

 Jeff could have added Marsalis' even more memorable tribute at Walter Cronkite's memorial -- one of those once-seen-never-forgotten moments when he led a retinue of musicians up the center aisle of Alice Tully Hall, effectively turning Cronkite's memorial into a big party. 

“Walter Cronkite was a jazz fan and a drummer,” said Marsalis in a statement. “Ed Bradley was a mentor and treasured friend. I was an unabashed lover of Charles Kuralt’s vision of America from the road and Dr. Billy Taylor’s jazz segment on ‘Sunday Morning’ inspired us all. I am honored to be a part of the CBS News family. I look forward to sharing with viewers the incredible variety and richness of our national culture—from ballet to the blues, from barbecue to the backbeat.”

He starts Jan. 16 -- Martin Luther King Day.

Tags: wynton marsalis , cbs news , 60 minutes , sunday morning , walter cronkite , ed bradley

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