To celebrate its fifth birthday, the Friends of MTCC hosted Jazz on Ninth with the Last Southern Gentlemen Tour with Ellis and Delfeayo Marsalis. Members of the legendary Marsalis family were truly delightful and very entertaining. With the elder Ellis Marsalis on piano and Delfeayo on trombone, all enjoyed a wonderful evening of jazz.
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.)
About the time that he first started playing trombone, Marsalis was already greatly interested in the recording process. From the age of 17 until the present, Marsalis has produced over 100 recordings for major artists including Harry Connick, Jr, Marcus Roberts, Spike Lee, Terence Blanchard, Marcus Roberts, Adam Makowicz, Nicholas Payton, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the projects of Ellis, Branford and Wynton Marsalis.
As a bandleader, Marsalis has earned wide acclaim for his first three albums as a leader: His January 2011 release Sweet Thunder, his most ambitious project yet, is a modern interpretation of the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn suiteSuch Sweet Thunder. In addition to the recording, Delfeayo’s original theatrical jazz production, Sweet Thunder: Duke & Shak, will tour to some 35 American cities and towns beginning in January 2011.
Marsalis has also been long involved in work as an educator. In 2004, he earned an MA in jazz performance at the University of Louisville and was conferred a doctorate by New England College in 2009. Marsalis served as director of the Foundation for Artistic and Musical Excellence summer program in Lawrenceville, New Jersey (1998-2002), founded the Uptown Music Theatre in 2000, and implemented its Kidstown After School in three New Orleans grammar schools in 2009. He has composed over 80 songs that help introduce kids to jazz.