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Marsalis Music is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based record label founded in 2002 by saxophonist Branford Marsalis, one of the most celebrated jazz musicians of the past 30 years. The label was formed to allow Marsalis and other musicians to document their music free of the commercial constraints imposed by other record labels. Marsalis Music has issued 27 compact discs, three DVDs, and one deluxe 180-gram high definition double LP vinyl, drawing from a roster that includes Marsalis and his quartet, the bands of Miguel Zenón, Doug Wamble, Claudia Acuña, Joey Calderazzo and (for instrumental music only) Harry Connick, Jr. All of the label’s artists have substantially expanded upon their performances with lectures, clinics and other presentations designed to bring players and listeners more directly into the music. Vocalist Claudia Acuña is the most recent signing, and released her first disc, En Este Momento, on the label in 2009.
The label’s catalogue also includes the special projects The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration, and Music Redeems, the only recorded performances of the entire Marsalis family (father Ellis, sons Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason), and Romare Bearden Revealed, a tribute to the visual artist created in conjunction with a traveling exhibition of his work curated by the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
In 2006, the label inaugurated the Honors Series in order to pay tribute to underappreciated veteran musicians. The series has featured drummers Michael Carvin and Jimmy Cobb and late musicians drummer Bob French and clarinetist Alvin Batiste.
Marsalis Music also sponsors the Marsalis Jams program through its non-profit affiliate Music Education Initiative, Inc. Marsalis Jams brings working ensembles to high school and college campuses throughout the United States for mini-residencies that include workshops, performances and jam sessions. In 2008, the program began an ongoing affiliation with Berklee College, Marsalis Berklee Jams, which brings a leading ensemble of young professional musicians to the Berklee campus each semester.
The label has also been active in efforts to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Its major focus has been New Orleans Musicians’ Village, a project in the city’s Upper Ninth Ward that allows displaced musicians and other residents to own single-family homes and elder-friendly duplexes. The Musicians’ Village is also the site of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a cultural resource for the village and the wider community. All proceeds from the sale of The Marsalis Family's Music Redeems goes directly to educational programming at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.
Artists (past and present)
- Harry Connick, Jr. (instrumental only)
- Branford Marsalis
- Branford Marsalis Quartet
- The Marsalis Family
- Miguel Zenón
- Joey Calderazzo
- Doug Wamble
- Claudia Acuna
Honors Series Artists
- Footsteps of Our Fathers (2002) - Branford Marsalis
- Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration (2003) - The Marsalis Family
- Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration (2003) (DVD) - The Marsalis Family
- Country Libations (2003) - Doug Wamble
- Romare Bearden Revealed (2003) - Branford Marsalis
- Other Hours (2003) - Harry Connick, Jr
- Ceremonial (2004) - Miguel Zenón
- Haiku (2004) - Joey Calderazzo
- Eternal (2004) - Branford Marsalis
- Coltrane's A Love Supreme Live (2004) (DVD) - Branford Marsalis
- Bluestate (2005) - Doug Wamble
- Jíbaro (2005) - Miguel Zenón
- Occasion (2005) - Harry Connick, Jr.
- A Duo Occasion (2005) (DVD) - Harry Connick, Jr. & Branford Marsalis
- Marsalis Music Honors Series: Michael Carvin (2006) - Michael Carvin
- Marsalis Music Honors Series: Jimmy Cobb (2006) - Jimmy Cobb
- Braggtown (2006) - Branford Marsalis Quartet
- Chanson du Vieux Carré (2007) - Harry Connick, Jr.
- Marsalis Music Honors Series: Alvin Batiste (2007) - Alvin Batiste
- Marsalis Music Honors Series: Bob French (2007) - Bob French
- Amanecer (2007) - Joey Calderazzo
- Awake (2008) - Miguel Zenón
- Metamorphosen (2009) - Branford Marsalis Quartet
- En Este Momento (2009) - Claudia Acuña
- Esta Plena (2009) - Miguel Zenón
- Music Redeems (2010) - The Marsalis Family
- Songs of Mirth and Melancholy (2011) - Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo
- Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook (2011) - Miguel Zenón
- Music from The Happy Elf: Connick On Piano, Vol. 4 (2011) - Harry Connick, Jr.
- Four MFs Playin' Tunes (2012) (CD and Vinyl) - Branford Marsalis Quartet