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Ellis Marsalis with his son Wynton Marsalis
Link: https://youtu.be/M7WFYZ1U0Yg
[Good music to chill out to during lockdown/quarantine or any other time.]

Ellis Louis Marsalis Jr.[1] (November 14, 1934 – April 1, 2020) was an American jazz pianist and educator. Active since the late 1940s, Marsalis came to greater attention in the 1980s and 1990s as the patriarch of a musical family, with sons Branford and Wynton rising to international acclaim….” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellis_Marsalis_Jr His father was born in Pike County Mississippi, and his mother in or near New Roads, Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. His father was a Civil Rights activist and, while not a musician, loved Mississippi Blues music: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellis_Marsalis_Sr.

His last appearance, or one of his last, was at Snug Harbor on March 6th. He apparently died of Coronavirus Covid-19 and the timing would be right for him to have caught it there, though he could have caught it anywhere. Snug Harbor is a rather small snug place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snug_Harbor_(jazz_club) It would be interesting to know who the guests were at that time. Snug Harbor March 6, 2020: http://archive.is/W95ks http://archive.is/fkbQn

In the interview, below, he discusses, among many other things, how New Orleans jazz is very dependent upon tourism. It may be that tourists not only contributed to his livelihood, but to his death, as well.

As of April 1st, noon, Orleans Parish = New Orleans has a Coronavirus death rate of 5%, which is the same as the region of Italy where Venice is located (Veneto), and higher than NYC. New Orleans is, however, far below Lombardy, Italy, where the death rate from coronavirus is a shocking 17%.

Louisiana Coronavirus stats updated at noon CDT: http://ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus/

Ellis Marsalis, Louisiana Legends, 2013

Link: https://youtu.be/ADs5Ip5-484

NEW ORLEANS — Today, Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued the following statement on legendary jazz pianist, composer and educator Ellis Marsalis, who has died at the age of 85:

“Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz. The love and the prayers of all of our people go out to his family, and to all of those whose lives he touched. He was a teacher, a father, and an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy and the wonder he showed the world. This loss cuts us deeply. May we wrap his family in our love and our gratitude, and may we honor his memory by coming together in spirit — even as the outbreak keeps us apart, for a time.”

Ellis Marsalis, Jr. was born in 1934, and went on to become the father of six sons, four of whom would establish their own careers as jazz musicians: Wynton (trumpet), Delfeayo (trombone), Branford (saxophone) and Jason (vibes, drum). While he recorded nearly 20 albums of his own work, Marsalis mentored musicians beyond his own family, as the first jazz instructor at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and as the first chair of the jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans.

Along the way he mentored such contemporary greats as Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Donald Harrison Jr., Kent Jordan, Marlon Jordan, and Harry Connick Jr. — the latter of whom joined the Marsalises for a family tribute concert in 2001 to mark Ellis’ retirement from UNO in 2001, at age 66.

In 2011, Marsalis and his sons were honored with the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters Award, as a group.

For three decades and until this past January, he held down a weekend gig at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro on Frenchmen Street.” http://archive.is/if98D

Wynton’s ancestry, which includes his father Ellis Jr, and Ellis Sr: http://archive.is/jQJyV

From Wikipedia:
Ellis Louis Marsalis Jr.[1] (November 14, 1934 – April 1, 2020) was an American jazz pianist and educator. Active since the late 1940s, Marsalis came to greater attention in the 1980s and 1990s as the patriarch of a musical family, with sons Branford and Wynton rising to international acclaim.

Life and career
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Marsalis was the son of Florence (née Robertson) and Ellis Marsalis Sr., a businessman and social activist.[2] Marsalis and his wife Delores Ferdinand had six sons: Branford, Wynton, Ellis III (1964), Delfeayo, Mboya (1971), and Jason. Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason also became jazz musicians.[3] Ellis III is a poet, photographer, and network engineer.

Marsalis played saxophone during high school but switched to piano while studying classical music at Dillard University, graduating in 1955.[4] He later attended graduate school at Loyola University New Orleans.[4] In the 1950s and 1960s he worked with Ed Blackwell, Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, and Al Hirt. During the 1970s, he taught at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. His students have included Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr., Donald Harrison, Kent Jordan, Marlon Jordan, and Nicholas Payton.[5]

Though he recorded almost twenty of his own albums and was featured on many discs with such musicians as David “Fathead” Newman, Eddie Harris, Marcus Roberts, and Courtney Pine, he shunned the spotlight to focus on teaching. Marsalis’s didactic approach, combined with an interest in philosophy, encouraged his students to make discoveries in music on their own, through experiment and very careful listening.

As a leading educator at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans, and Xavier University of Louisiana, Ellis influenced the careers of countless musicians, as well as his four musician sons: Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason. Marsalis retired from UNO in 2001.[4] In May 2007, Marsalis received an honorary doctorate from Tulane University for his contributions to jazz and musical education.

Marsalis was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2018.[3]

The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music at Musicians’ Village in New Orleans is named in his honor. In 2010, The Marsalis Family released a live album titled Music Redeems which was recorded at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC as part of the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival. All proceeds from the sale of the album go directly to the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.

Marsalis and his sons were group recipients of the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters Award.[6]

Marsalis was a Brother of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., initiated in 1953 at Epsilon Alpha Chapter, Dillard University.

Marsalis was a Brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity, initiated into Delta Epsilon Chapter (University of Louisiana-Lafayette) in 1965. In 2015, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia announced that Marsalis has been named Sinfonia’s 24th Man of Music, the highest honor given by the fraternity to a member, for advancing the cause of music in America through performance, composition or any other musical activity.

On April 1, 2020, Marsalis died at the age of 85 after being hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms. He had been tested for coronavirus and the results were pending.[4][7]

On April 1, 2020, Marsalis died at the age of 85 after being hospitalized with COVID-19.[4][7][8]

[MA ed. comment: Apparently the New York Times article was updated to indicate that he did die of COVID-19. We opted to leave an earlier version of wikipedia (next to last paragraph) and the most recent (last paragraph). See his extensive Discography here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellis_Marsalis_Jr.#Discography Wikipedia article links had issues so we opted to exclude it. ]


1. ^ Handy, D. Antoinette (1999). Jazz Man’s Journey: A Biography of Ellis Louis Marsalis, Jr. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9781578860067. OCLC 680174719. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
2. ^ “Ancestry of Wynton Marsalis”. wargs. com. Retrieved June 22, 2015. http://archive.is/jQJyV
3. Levenson, Michael; Carmel, Julia (April 1, 2020). “Ellis Marsalis Jr., Jazz Pianist and Patriarch of a Musical Family, Dies at 85”. The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
4. MacCash, Doug (April 1, 2020). “Ellis Marsalis, New Orleans jazz piano legend hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms, dies”. The New Orleans Advocate. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
5. Yanow, Scott. “Ellis Marsalis”. AllMusic. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
6. “National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters”. Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts. June 24, 2010. Archived from the original on September 17, 2010. 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.”
7. Norton, LaTonya (April 1, 2020). “Mayor Cantrell Issues Statement on the Passing of Ellis Marsalis” (Press release). New Orleans, LA: City of New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Govdelivery. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
8. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/01/arts/music/ellis-marsalis-dead-virus.html

[Additional references for discography at original: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellis_Marsalis_Jr.%5D

External links
Official website http://www.ellismarsalis.com/
NPR’s Jazz Profiles: Ellis Marsalis https://www.npr.org/programs/jazzprofiles/archive/marsalis_e.html
NAMM Oral History Interview March 21, 2015
CC-BY-SA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellis_Marsalis_Jr.
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License

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