Ellis & Delfeayo Marsalis

Ellis Marsalis

It is a bit ironic that Ellis Marsalis had to wait for sons Wynton and Branford to get famous before he was able to record on a regular basis, but Ellis has finally received his long-overdue recognition. The father of six sons (including Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, 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 Blanchard, Donald 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,

 

Delfeayo Marsalis

Imagine being the younger brother of Wynton and Branford Marsalis. It is little surprise that Delfeayo Marsalis took a while before making his debut on records. The son of Ellis Marsalis and the older brother of drummer Jason, Delfeayo was always interested in engineering and he started off as a busy record producer, studying both trombone and studio production at Berklee. In addition to his producing, he has written some of the most absurd liner notes ever seen, raving about his brothers while trying to pretend that he is an impartial observer. More importantly, Delfeayo Marsalis is a fine J.J. Johnson-inspired trombonist who toured with Ray Charles, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and Abdullah Ibrahim before recording his first album as a leader, Pontius Pilate's Decision, in 1992. Musashi appeared in 1997, followed by Minions Dominion in 2006 and Sweet Thunder, a reworking of Duke Ellington's suite based on Shakespearean themes and characters, in 2010.