Jason Marsalis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jason Marsalis
SatchmoFest 2010 Jason Marsalis Bowtie.JPG
Background information
Birth name Jason Marsalis
Born (1977-03-04) March 4, 1977 (age 39)
Origin United States New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Drummer, Vibraphonist
Instruments drums, vibraphone
Associated acts Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis

Jason Marsalis (born March 4, 1977) is an American jazz drummer and member of the famous New Orleans Marsalis jazz musical family. He is the youngest son of Delores Ferdinand Marsalis and Ellis Marsalis, Jr.

Life and career[edit]

Marsalis was born in New Orleans, the son of Dolores (née Ferdinand) and Ellis Louis Marsalis, Jr., a pianist and music professor.[1] His brothers are Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis III (1964), Delfeayo Marsalis, and Mboya Kinyatta (1971). Branford, Wynton, and Delfeayo are also jazz musicians.

Jason has not only inherited the virtuosity and compositional skills associated with the Marsalis family, but has also developed a distinctive, polyrhythmic drumming style. Though his first professional gig was with his father at the age of twelve, he studied classical percussion at Loyola University in New Orleans, and worked as a sideman with straight-ahead combos, funk fusion bands, a Brazilian percussion ensemble (Casa Samba), and even a Celtic group. He introduced percussionist Bill Summers to trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and together they co-founded the wildly successful Los Hombres Calientes. Then, at the height of that band's popularity, Jason left to join up with acclaimed pianist Marcus Roberts.

On August 25, 2009, Marsalis released his first album as a leader on vibraphone, entitled Music Update. The album, which earned 4.5 out of 5 stars in Downbeat Magazine, showcases Jason on vibes with his working quartet, as well as several overdubbed drum ensembles entitled the "Disciplines". Ben Ratliff from The New York Times described the Jason's album as "an excellent musician trying out something risky without embarrassment."[2]

Jason also continues to work as a sideman with Marcus Roberts, Ellis and Delfeayo Marsalis, John Ellis, Michael White, and Shannon Powell among others.

Marsalis, with his father and brothers, are group recipients of the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters Award.[3] He is also featured in the non-fiction film on New Orleans Jazz Culture, Tradition is a Temple.

Selected discography[edit]

Jason Marsalis
>Photo Hreinn Gudlaugsson
Jason Marsalis in Aarhus, Denmark (2009)
Photo Hreinn Gudlaugsson
  • The Marsalis Family - Music Redeems (Marsalis Music)
  • Jason Marsalis - Music Update (ELM Records)
  • Jason Marsalis - The Year Of The Drummer (Basin Street Records)
  • Jason Marsalis - Music In Motion (Basin Street Records)
  • Roland Guerin - You Don't Have To See It To Believe It (Half Note Records)
  • John Ellis - Roots, Branches & Leaves (Fresh Sound New Talent)
  • The Marsalis Family - A Jazz Celebration (Marsalis Music/Rounder)
  • The Ellis Marsalis Trio - Twelve's It (Columbia Records)
  • David Morgan Trio - Live At The Blue Note (Half Note Records)
  • Los Hombres Calientes - Los Hombres Calientes (Basin Street Records)
  • Los Hombres Calientes - Vol. 2 (Basin Street Records)
  • Marcus Roberts Trio - In Honor Of Duke (Columbia Records)

As sideman[edit]

With Stephen Riley

  • El Gaucho (Steeplechase, 2010)


  1. ^ Stated on Finding Your Roots, PBS, March 25, 2012
  2. ^ Ratliff, Ben (July 22, 2009). "Offbeat, Nabokovian and West Coast Hip". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]

  • Bio from Basin Street Records
  • Interview from Jazzweekly.com