Ellis Marsalis Jr.
|Ellis Marsalis Jr.|
Ellis Marsalis Jr. performing on June 6, 2004
|Birth name||Ellis Louis Marsalis Jr.|
|Born||November 14, 1934|
|Origin||New Orleans, Louisiana, United States|
|Labels||Blue Note, Columbia, Sony, Rounder|
Active since the late 1940s, Marsalis came to greater attention in the 1980s and 1990s as the patriarch of a musical family, with sons Branford Marsalis and Wynton Marsalis rising to international acclaim.
He can usually be seen performing on Fridays at Snug Harbor jazz bistro in New Orleans.
Life and career
Marsalis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Florence (née Robertson) and Ellis Marsalis Sr., a businessman and social activist. Marsalis and wife Delores Ferdinand have six sons: Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis III (1964), Delfeayo Marsalis, Mboya Kinyatta Marsalis (1971), and Jason Marsalis. Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason are also jazz musicians. Ellis is a poet, photographer, and network engineer based in Baltimore.
Ellis started out as a tenor saxophonist, switching to piano while in high school. From his first professional performance with "The Groovy Boys" over fifty years ago, Ellis Marsalis has been a major influence in jazz. At that time, Marsalis was one of the few New Orleans musicians who did not specialize in Dixieland or rhythm and blues. He played with fellow modernists including Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, and Al Hirt, becoming one of the most respected pianists in jazz. Though he has recorded almost twenty of his own albums, and was featured on many discs with such musicians as David “Fathead” Newman, Eddie Harris, Marcus Roberts, and Courtney Pine, he shunned the spotlight to focus on teaching. Marsalis's didactic approach, combined with an interest in philosophy, encourages his students to make discoveries in music on their own, through experiment and very careful listening.
As a leading educator at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans, and Xavier University of Louisiana, Ellis has influenced the careers of countless musicians, including Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr., Nicholas Payton; as well as his four musician sons: Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason. In May, 2007, Marsalis received an honorary doctorate from Tulane University for his contributions to jazz and musical education.
On December 7, 2008, Ellis Marsalis was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music at Musicians' Village in New Orleans is named in honor of Ellis Marsalis. In 2010, The Marsalis Family released a live album titled Music Redeems which was recorded at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC as part of the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival. All proceeds from the sale of the album go directly to the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.
Marsalis is a Brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity, initiated into Delta Epsilon Chapter (University of Louisiana-Lafayette) in 1965. In 2015 Sinfonia announced that Marsalis has been named Sinfonia's 24th Man of Music, the highest honor given by the fraternity to a member, for advancing the cause of music in America through performance, composition or any other musical activity.
- 1990 Standard Time, Vol.3: The Resolution Of Romance – Wynton Marsalis (vocals, trumpet); Ellis Marsalis (piano); Reginald Veal (bass); Herlin Riley (drums)
- 1991 Ellis Marsalis Trio – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Robert Hurst (bass), Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums)
- 1991 Piano in E – Solo Piano – Ellis Marsalis (solo piano)
- 1991 The Classic/Ellis Marsalis – Ellis Marsalis (piano), James Black (drums), Nathaniel Perrilliat (saxophone), Marshall Smith (bass) – (Original Release Date: 1963)
- 1992 Heart Of Gold – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Billy Higgins (drums)
- 1994 Whistle Stop – Ellis Marsalis (piano); Branford Marsalis (tenor & soprano saxophones); Robert Hurst (acoustic bass); Jeff "Tain" Watts, Jason Marsalis (drums)
- 1995 Joe Cool's Blues – Wynton Marsalis Septet: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet); Wessell Anderson (alto & soprano saxophones); Victor Gaines (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Wycliffe Gordon (trombone); Eric Reed (piano); Benjamin Wolfe (acoustic bass); Herlin Riley (drums). Ellis Marsalis Trio: Ellis Marsalis (piano); Reginald Veal (bass); Martin Butler (drums). Additional personnel: Germaine Bazzle (vocals); Branford Marsalis (tenor saxophone); Tom Peterson (baritone saxophone); Chuck Findley (trumpet); Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone).
- 1995 A Night At Snug Harbor, New Orleans – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Bill Huntington (bass), David Lee Jr. (drums), Tony Dagradi (tenor, soprano sax), Rick Margitza (tenor sax), Art Blakey (drums), Donald Harrison (tenor sax), Nicholas Payton (trumpet)
- 1996 Loved Ones – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Branford Marsalis (saxophone)
- 1997 Syndrome – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Bill Huntington (acoustic bass), James Black (drums), Guest Artist: Kent Jordan
- 1998 Twelve's It – Ellis Marsalis (piano); Roland Guerin, Bill Huntington (bass); Jason Marsalis (drums)
- 1999 Duke In Blue – Ellis Marsalis (solo piano)
- 1999 Solo Piano Reflections – Ellis Marsalis (solo piano) – (Original Release Date: 1978)
- 2001 UAB SuperJazz, Featuring Ellis Marsalis – Ellis Marsalis, piano, with the SuperJazz Big Band (formerly "UAB SuperJazz") – Recorded live at the Alys Stephens Center and produced by UAB music faculty members Ray Reach and Henry Panion.
- 2002 Jazz At Christmas In New Orleans – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Bill Huntington (bass violin), Jason Marsalis (drum set & percussion, vibraphone), Cynthia Liggins Thomas (vocal)
- 2002 Marsalis Family – A Jazz Celebration – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Branford Marsalis (saxophones), Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone), Jason Marsalis (drums), Roland Guerin (bass). Special Guests: Harry Connick Jr. (piano), Lucien Barbarin (trombone)
- 2003 The GIG – LIVE At Snug Harbor – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Bill Huntigton (bass), Jason Marsalis (drums)
- 2003 Afternoon Session August 17, 1968 Sparks Nevada – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Jim Haden (bass), Lee Charlton (drums), John Peirce (alto sax), Chuck Foster (trumpet)
- 2004 On The First Occasion – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Bill Huntington (bass), Jason Marsalis (drums
- 2005 An Evening With The Ellis Marsalis Quartet – Set 1 – Recorded LIVE at Snug Harbor – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Derek Douget (tenor/soprano saxophones), Bill Huntington (bass), Jason Marsalis (drums)
- 2005 Ruminations in New York – Ellis Marsalis (solo piano)
- 2010 Music Redeems – Ellis Marsalis (piano), Branford Marsalis (saxophones), Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Ellis Marsalis III (spoken word), Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone), Jason Marsalis (drums), Eric Revis (bass). Special Guests: Harry Connick Jr. (piano), Herlin Riley (drums)
With Irvin Mayfield
||Half Note Records|
- Handy, D.A. (1999). Jazz Man's Journey: A Biography of Ellis Louis Marsalis, Jr. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9781578860067. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
- "Ancestry of Wynton Marsalis". wargs.com. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
- National Endowment for the Arts (June 24, 2010). "National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters". Washington: National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
For the first time in the program's 29-year history, in addition to four individual awards, the NEA will present a group award to the Marsalis family, New Orleans' venerable first family of jazz.
- "Sinfonia Names 24th Man of Music « 55th National Convention". singasone2015.org. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
- Chris Stewart. "62-0509a". cannonballjazz.com. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
- Official website
- NPR's Jazz Profiles: Ellis Marsalis
- Ellis Marsalis with Harry Connick Jr, performing "Stardust", music video at Yahoo! Music
- NAMM Oral History Interview March 21, 2015
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