Modern Jazz

Ellis Marsalis

Modern jazz pianist and leading jazz educator Ellis Marsalis is probably best known as the father of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and saxophonist Branford Marsalis, both internationally acclaimed modern jazz artists. But the elder Marsalis has had a much greater influence on American jazz history in the last quarter of the twentieth century than it might appear. He was, for example, among only a handful of young musicians in New Orleans during the 1950s who chose to pursue careers in modern jazz at a time when rhythm and blues and traditional jazz dominated the local music scene.

Wynton Marsalis

New Orleans-born trumpeter, composer, and jazz educator Wynton Marsalis is an accomplished musician, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, and internationally acclaimed cultural icon. The son of New Orleans pianist and pioneering jazz educator Ellis Marsalis, he is also the brother of jazz musicians Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, and Jason Marsalis. His impact during the last two decades of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century on the state of jazz, the practice of jazz, and the recognition of America’s jazz heritage would be hard to overstate.

“New Orleans Drummers” NEED

"Harold Batiste" NEED

Battiste, Harold Jr. 2010. Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man. New Orleans: Historic New Orleans Collection.

Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man celebrates New Orleans composer, producer, arranger, educator and jazz ambassador Harold Battiste Jr. Chasing the dream from New Orleans to Los Angeles and back, Battiste thrived in the jazz, blues and pop scenes. The creative force behind a bevy of number-one hits Barbara George s I Know (You Don t Love Me No More), Joe Jones s You Talk Too Much, Sam Cooke s You Send Me and the sage who launched the careers of Dr. John and Sonny & Cher, Battiste worked behind the scenes of the music industry for more than half a century. With Unfinished Blues, his voice is heard, unfiltered, at last. Battiste’s musical sensibilities were formed and his racial consciousness raised in the churches, classrooms and jazz joints of New Orleans. A graduate of Dillard University s music education program, Battiste confronted discrimination as a teacher in Louisiana s segregated public school system. In the early 1950s he founded All for One, the nation s first African American musician-owned and -operated record label. His commitment to education and uplift has never wavered: in recent decades he worked alongside lifelong friend and fellow musician Ellis Marsalis to build the renowned jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans. He can count among his friends and protégés many of today s leading young jazz musicians Nicholas Payton, Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis, Victor Goines, Jesse McBride and other members of a next generation keeping the New Orleans sound alive.