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Ellis Marsalis Quintet

Ellis Marsalis Quintet

Friday March 3rd, 2017, 8pm | Facebook | tickets

Ticket Sales open December 12th, 2016

ELLIS MARSALIS is regarded by many as the premier modern jazz pianist in New Orleans. Born November 14, 1934, he began formal music studies at the Xavier University of Louisiana Junior School of Music at age 11. After high school, Marsalis enrolled in New Orleans’ Dillard University as a clarinet major. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education in 1955, and spent the next year working as an assistant manager in his father’s motel business.

The following year, Marsalis joined the U.S. Marine Corps, and while stationed in southern California, began honing his skills as a pianist on a television show entitled “Dress Blues” and a radio show called “Leatherneck Songbook.” Both shows were sponsored by the Marine Corps. After completing a stint in the Marine Corps, Marsalis returned to New Orleans and married Dolores Ferdinand of New Orleans. They had six sons: Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, Miboya and Jason.

In 1964, Marsalis moved his wife and family to the rural Louisiana town of Breaux Bridge, where he served as a school band and choral director at Carver High School for two years. Returning to New Orleans, he began to freelance in the local music scene. Between 1966 and 1974, Marsalis would perform at the Playboy Club (New Orleans), in the Al Hirt Nightclub, and the Lu and Charles Nightclub. He entered the teaching profession again as an adjunct professor at Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans.

As his family continued to grow, Marsalis decided to return to school in the early summer session of 1974, working towards a Master’s Degree at Loyola University of New Orleans. Marsalis would also interview for a teaching position at a new magnet school for the arts. His interview was successful, and he was hired for the Fall Semester of 1974 at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) High School. He would spend the next twelve years at NOCCA as an Instrumental Music teacher with a Jazz Studies emphasis.

In 1986, Marsalis accepted the position of Commonwealth Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. He would spend two of the three years as Coordinator of Jazz Studies before returning to New Orleans and the University of New Orleans to become the first Director of its CocaCola-endowed chair of Jazz Studies.

Marsalis has played on several network television shows, including NBC’s “TODAY” with host Bryant Gumbel; the “TONIGHT” show with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno as hosts; the “Arsenio Hall Show” with pianist Marcus Roberts; “The Charlie Rose Show”; “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”; ABC’s “Good Morning America” with Spencer Christian; and several local and regional television shows.

In 1984, Marsalis and New Orleans singer/actress Joanne “Lady BJ” Creighton shared honors at the Ace Awards ceremony for the best single music program on cable television. He has received Honorary Doctorate degrees from his alma mater Dillard University (1989) and Ball State University, Muncie, Ind. (1997).

Marsalis continues to be active as a performing pianist, leading his own group, and has several recordings on the CBS-SONY label. He is currently developing his own recording label, ELM RECORDS, with his wife Dolores and son, Jason. On August 10, 2001, Marsalis officially retired from the University of New Orleans after 12 years. In 2011, he and his sons were honored by the National Endowment for the Arts with the Jazz Master Award, which is the most prestigious award in Jazz music.

Check out his latest albums:

Ellis Marsalis Quintet
Ellis Marsalis Quintet
Ellis Marsalis Quintet