See them at the Jazz Eureka Festival, Eureka Springs, AR Saturday September 13th performance starts at 8 pm!
“The Last Southern Gentlemen” is a landmark recording for Delfeayo Marsalis, pairing father Ellis Marsalis, Jr. with son on a collaborative album for the first time. Marsalis’ finest outing to date, the superb recording quality and meticulous production showcase his brilliant, classically trained tone as it swings effortlessly through standards and original compositions. The music is relaxed, thoughtful and provocative, acknowledging the love and respect of all people shared by Louis Armstrong and most early jazz entertainers.
Delfeayo Marsalis is one of the top trombonists, composers and producers in jazz today. Known for his “technical excellence, inventive mind and frequent touches of humor” (Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times), he is “one of the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation.” (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner.) Born in New Orleans on July 28, 1965, Marsalis was destined to a life in music. “I remember my dad (Ellis Marsalis) playing piano at the house, and me laying underneath the piano as a child, listening to him play. After briefly trying bass and drums, in sixth grade I gravitated towards the trombone, which was an extension of my personality. Early on my influences and inspirations included J.J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, Al Grey, Tyree Glenn and Tommy Dorsey.” Marsalis attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts high school, was classically trained at the Eastern Music Festival and Tanglewood Institute, and majored in both performance and audio production at the Berklee College of Music.
Marsalis is an exceptional trombonist who toured internationally with five renowned bandleaders. “Art Blakey taught me a lot about patience and how to construct a solo. My compositions are influenced by Abdullah Ibrahim’s harmonies. Slide Hampton inspired me with the relaxation that he displays in his trombone playing along with his command of the instrument. With Max Roach, I learned that I had to be on top of my game every moment. And Elvin Jones, who I worked with for seven or eight years, taught me about humanity, expressing myself through my instrument, and how to keep time without relying on other players.” During a tour with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he was filmed as part of the Ken Burns documentary, Jazz and he was an integral part of Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration, a DVD that assembled all of the musical Marsalis’ for the first time and was featured on PBS.
As the father of some of New Orleans’ most renown musicians, Ellis Marsalis started his musical journey in junior high school at the age of 11. Graduating from Dillard University with a degree in Music Education, Ellis went on to play with the Corps Four, a Marine Corps’ jazz quartet that appeared on CBS television and radio nationally. Ellis returned to New Orleans after completing his Corp duties, where he married Dolores Ferdinand. Together they raised six sons, Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, Mboya and Jason. Moving to the country just outside New Orleans, Ellis became a school band director for a couple of years, but soon returned to The Big Easy to become a free-lance musician. He performed at all the top clubs, and soon got teaching jobs, including twelve years as an instructor at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He eventually became the Chair of Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans, retiring in 2001.
In January 2011, the Marsalis family (father Ellis and brothers Delfeayo, Branford, Wynton and Jason) earned the nation’s highest jazz honor – a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.