Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ellis Marsalis Jr., Special Guest at Jazz at the Sandbar

Finally, Jazz at the Sandbar at the UNO (University of New Orleans) is back!
The place was fully packed with professors, students and outside guests.
What better way to start by having the iconic Ellis Marsalis, Jr. as the first guest.  Ellis Marsalis is well known as a modern jazz pianist,  not only in New Orleans but internationally too.  As you may know, Ellis Marsalis Center for Music is named after him.  Mr. Marsalis is committed to preserve the New Orleans culture, especially jazz and to give opportunity to young jazz musicians to realize their dreams.  He is also a father to to six sons who are all musically gifted.

"It is a bit ironic that Ellis Marsalis had to wait for sons Wynton and Branfordto get famous before he was able to record on a regular basis, but Ellis finally received his long-overdue recognition. The father of six sons (includingWyntonBranfordDelfeayo, and Jason), Ellis Marsalis' main importance to jazz may very well be as a jazz educator; his former pupils (in addition to his sons) include Terence BlanchardDonald Harrison, Harry Connick, Jr.,Nicholas Payton, and Kent and Marlon Jordan, among others. He started out as a tenor saxophonist, switching to piano while in high school". Marsalis was one of the few New Orleans musicians of the era who did not specialize in Dixieland or rhythm & blues. He played with fellow modernists (including Ed Blackwell) in the late '50s with AFO, recorded with Cannonball and Nat Adderley in the 1960s, played with Al Hirt (1967-1970), and was busy as a teacher. Marsalis freelanced in New Orleans during the 1970s and taught at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He recorded with Wynton andBranford on Father and Sons in 1982, an album that they shared with Chico and Von Freeman. After that, Marsalisrecorded for ELM, Spindletop (a duet session with Eddie Harris), Rounder, Blue Note, and Columbia, issuing Twelve's It on the latter in 1998. Duke in Blue followed a year later. Since that time, Marsalis has kept busy releasing Afternoon Session, An Open Letter to Thelonious, and Ruminations".

Ellis Marsalis played modern jazz, but his sentimentality and old world charm permeated his music.  His sound is unhurried, rich and sweet. 

Watch this:

Watch this too, with Jordan Baker on keyboard: 

Aside from the regular performers who are all superb and professional-sounding -- Albert Allenback-tenor sax, Jeronne Ansari-alto sax, Jordan Baker-piano, Tanarat Chaichana-bass, Glenn Hall-trumpet, and Peter Varnado-drums, Miss Amber Matthews performed with them.  Isn't she as cute as a button! She has nice melodious voice and her young innocent looks makes her an eye candy.   I guess as she matures she will be more sassy and adventurous in her renditions.   
Amber Matthews

We are so looking forward for next week's treat at the Jazz at the Sandbar featuring trumpeter and UNO alumnus, Master of Music 2013,  Ashlin Parker.  

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