Ellis Marsalis Jr.
Ellis Marsalis Jr.
Marsalis in 2007
|Birth name||Ellis Louis Marsalis Jr.|
|Born||November 14, 1934|
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Died||April 1, 2020 (aged 85)|
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Labels||Elm, Blue Note, Columbia, Sony|
|Associated acts||Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis|
Ellis Louis Marsalis Jr. (November 14, 1934 – April 1, 2020) was an American jazz pianist and educator. Active since the late 1940s, Marsalis came to greater attention in the 1980s and 1990s as the patriarch of the musical Marsalis family, when sons Branford and Wynton became popular musicians.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Marsalis was the son of Florence Marie (née Robertson) and Ellis Marsalis Sr., a businessman and social activist. Marsalis and his wife Dolores Ferdinand Marsalis had six sons: Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, Mboya, and Jason. Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason also became jazz musicians. Ellis III is a poet and photographer.
Marsalis played saxophone during high school but switched to piano while studying classical music at Dillard University, graduating in 1955. He later attended graduate school at Loyola University New Orleans. In the 1950s and 1960s he worked with Ed Blackwell, Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, and Al Hirt. During the 1970s, he taught at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. His students have included Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr., Donald Harrison, Kent Jordan, Marlon Jordan, and Nicholas Payton.
Marsalis recorded nearly 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. As a teacher, he encouraged his students to learn from history while also making discoveries in music on their own. "We don't teach jazz, we teach students," he once said about his ability to teach jazz improvisation. As a leading educator at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans, and Xavier University of Louisiana, Marsalis influenced the careers of countless musicians, as well as his four musician sons: Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason. Marsalis retired from UNO in 2001. In May 2007, Marsalis received an honorary doctorate from Tulane University for his contributions to jazz and musical education.
Marsalis was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2018. The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music at Musicians' Village in New Orleans is named in his honor. 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 was a fraternity brother of Phi Beta Sigma and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. In 2015, Marsalis was named Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia's 24th Man of Music, their highest honor given to a member, for advancing the cause of music in America through performance, composition or any other musical activity. In 2018, Marsalis was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music during its 50th annual High School Jazz Festival.
Marsalis and his wife were Catholic and raised all their children in the faith.
- 1985 Syndrome
- 1985 Homecoming with Eddie Harris (Spindletop)
- 1986 Piano in E
- 1989 A Night at Snug Harbor, New Orleans (Somethin' Else)
- 1990 Ellis Marsalis Trio (Blue Note)
- 1991 Jazzy Wonderland (Columbia)
- 1991 Heart of Gold (Columbia)
- 1993 Whistle Stop (Columbia)
- 1994 Joe Cool's Blues with Wynton Marsalis (Columbia)
- 1996 Loved Ones with Branford Marsalis (Columbia)
- 1998 Twelve's It (Sony)
- 1999 Duke in Blue (Sony)
- 2000 Afternoon Session (Music in the Vines/Sonoma Jazz)
- 2005 Ruminations in New York
- 2008 An Open Letter to Thelonious (Elm)
- 2011 A New Orleans Christmas Carol (Elm)
- 2012 Pure Pleasure for the Piano with Makoto Ozone (ECM)
- 2013 On the First Occasion (Elm)
- 2017 Live at Jazzfest 2017
- 2018 The Ellis Marsalis Quintet Plays the Music of Ellis Marsalis
As sideman or guest
With American Jazz Quintet
With Branford Marsalis
With Delfeayo Marsalis
With Wynton Marsalis
- 1981 Wynton Marsalis
- 1982 Fathers and Sons
- 1986 J Mood
- 1990 Standard Time, Vol. 3: The Resolution of Romance
With Marsalis family
With Irvin Mayfield
- 1998 Irvin Mayfield
- 2001 How Passion Falls
- 2008 Love Songs, Ballads, and Standards
- 2011 A Love Letter to New Orleans
With Kermit Ruffins
With Dave Young
- 1958 Boogie Live ...1958, Ed Blackwell
- 1962 In the Bag, Nat Adderley
- 1984 Friends, Steve Masakowski
- 1987 King Midas & the Golden Touch, Michael Caine
- 1989 Have You Heard?, Rich Matteson
- 1990 Return to the Wide Open Spaces, David "Fathead" Newman with Cornell Dupree
- 1990 Solos (1940), Art Tatum
- 1991 As Serenity Approaches, Marcus Roberts
- 1992 25, Harry Connick Jr.
- 1996 In the Sweet Bye and Bye, Preservation Hall Jazz Band
- 1996 Next Generation, Harold Battiste
- 1996 Suite Memories, Gerald Wilson
- 1996 Ways of Warmdaddy, Wessell Anderson
- 2006 Marsalis Music Honors Series: Jimmy Cobb, Jimmy Cobb
- 2006 The Sonet Blues Story: 1977, Snooks Eaglin
- 2008 Jazz for Peanuts, David Benoit
- 2008 Simply Grand, Irma Thomas
- 2009 Say It Plain, Scotty Barnhart
- 2015 A Very Swingin' Basie Christmas!, Count Basie Orchestra
- Handy, D. Antoinette (1999). Jazz Man's Journey: A Biography of Ellis Louis Marsalis, Jr. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9781578860067. OCLC 680174719. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
- "Ancestry of Wynton Marsalis". wargs.com. Archived from the original on June 5, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
- Levenson, Michael; Carmel, Julia (April 1, 2020). "Ellis Marsalis Jr., Jazz Pianist and Patriarch of a Musical Family, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
- "Jazz great Ellis Marsalis dead at 85 from coronavirus". Brisbane Times. April 3, 2020. Archived from the original on April 4, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- MacCash, Doug (April 1, 2020). "Ellis Marsalis, New Orleans jazz piano legend hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms, dies". The New Orleans Advocate. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- Yanow, Scott. "Ellis Marsalis". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- Adams, Ron (April 3, 2020). "RIP Ellis Marsalis Jr (1934-2020)". London Jazz News. Archived from the original on April 5, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- West, Michael J. (April 2, 2020). "Ellis Marsalis 1934–2020 / The jazz world mourns a beloved pianist and teacher—and the head of a royal New Orleans family". jazztimes.com. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- "Piano Master Brings Jazz to Campus". Tulane University. October 21, 2010. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- Jarenwattananon, Patrick (August 15, 2010). "First Listen: The Marsalis Family, 'Music Redeems'". npr.org. NPR. Archived from the original on April 4, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
- Chapman, Maria (July 17, 2017). "Phi Beta Sigma shows commitment to community". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on June 9, 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- "Sinfonia Names 24th Man of Music". Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America. June 2, 2015. Archived from the original on September 15, 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- "Berklee High School Jazz Festival celebrates its 50th – JazzBoston". Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- Norton, LaTonya (April 1, 2020). "Mayor Cantrell Issues Statement on the Passing of Ellis Marsalis" (Press release). New Orleans, LA: City of New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Govdelivery. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- Bordelon, Christine (January 16, 2020). "Ellis Marsalis influenced many of today's artists". Clarion Herald. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
- "National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters". Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts. June 24, 2010. Archived from the original on September 17, 2010. 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.
- "Ellis Marsalis | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 10, 2006. Retrieved February 10, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- CD purchased at 2019 performance in NOLA
- "Ellis Marsalis | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 22, 2006. Retrieved May 22, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Chris Stewart. "62-0509a". cannonballjazz.com. Archived from the original on August 12, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
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