If your name is Marsalis, there’s only one natural creative outlet: Jazz. It almost seems that the family patriarch, pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr., was grooming a band — Branford on saxophone, Wynton on trumpet, Jason on drums and Delfeayo on trombone (poet/photographer Ellis III didn’t follow the family’s musical path).
But as acclaim and attention has been heaped upon the personable Branford and the militantly outspoken Wynton, Delfeayo Marsalis has established himself as a gifted musician (on just three albums with a fourth in the wings) and a visionary Jazz producer, manning the boards for his father, brothers and others (Kenny Kirkland, Harry Connick Jr. and Marcus Roberts, among them).
Delfeayo began trombone studies at 13 and five years later was performing with the New Orleans Philharmonic. He had already produced his first recording at 17 when he enrolled at Boston’s Berklee College; to date, he’s manned the boards for more than 75 major label recordings.
Delfeayo’s glowingly reviewed trombone skills have accompanied many Jazz legends — Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Slide Hampton and many others — and his skills were on display with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in Ken Burns’ documentary Jazz. Delfeayo’s most recent album, 2006’s acclaimed Minions Dominion, is likely to be joined soon by his recording of “Sweet Thunder,” his interpretation of Duke Ellington’s suite based on the work of William Shakespeare and a piece that Delfeayo has performed live for the past couple of years.
Like his entire family, Delfeayo is vitally interested in education: His autistic brother Mboya inspired him to create New Orleans’ Uptown Music Theatre, he has lectured extensively in public and private schools and he's served as director for a variety of music programs over the years. Once again this year, Delfeayo steps away from the control room to perform in concert (joined by brother Jason); don’t miss this chance to experience these massively talented Marsalis brothers.
(Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.)