WBGO Blog
  • Ellis Marsalis At 80

    December 11, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Ellis Marsalis celebrated his 80th birthday in performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center. (Image Credit: Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Ellis Marsalis has four famous musical sons — Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis — but considering his career, he's a father figure for many more musicians. In high school and college classrooms, he's been the major figure in New Orleans jazz education since the time that formal jazz education didn't exist. And as a pianist, he carved out a space for contemporary jazz in his hometown, and has grown into an elder statesman of the scene.

    He turned 80 in November, and to celebrate, Jazz at Lincoln Center — where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director — hosted him and his band at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Jazz Night In America was in the house for Ellis Marsalis' birthday.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Ellis Marsalis' 80th Birthday Concert

    December 10, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Ellis Marsalis celebrates his 80th birthday in concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center. (Image Credit: Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Ellis Marsalis is a father figure of modern jazz — in quite a few ways. As a pianist, he was among the first generation of musicians to bring bebop to New Orleans, and even worked with Ornette Coleman before the saxophonist recorded his landmarks of free jazz. As an educator, many great musicians came through Marsalis' tutelage, whether in New Orleans' arts high school or at various university programs. And of course, he is also the actual father of several exceptional musicians named Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis.

    He turned 80 in November, and to celebrate, Jazz at Lincoln Center — where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director — hosted him and his band. Jazz Night In America fetes Ellis Marsalis with a special birthday performance from Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.

    Set List

    • "Monkey Puzzle" (James Black)
    • "Homecoming" (Ellis Marsalis)
    • "Bloomdido" (Charlie Parker)
    • "Beautiful Old Ladies" (Harold Battiste)
    • "Sweet Georgia Brown" (Bernie/Pinkard)
    • "Creole Love Call" (Duke Ellington)
    • "Happy Birthday" [encore with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra]

    Personnel

    Ellis Marsalis, piano; Derek Douget, saxophones; Jason Stewart, bass; Herlin Riley, drums.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Johnny O'Neal: Listen, Closely

    December 4, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Johnny O'Neal performs at Mezzrow. (Image Credit: NPR)

    Mezzrow is New York City's newest listening room: an intimate club for solo and duo performers where silence and attention are more than encouraged. It's a bit of a throwback, as is its Monday night host Johnny O'Neal. A virtuoso who shot onto the scene in the 1980s, the pianist is now re-establishing his presence in New York after decades off the radar. And on Mondays, he holds court at Mezzrow, singing the blues and welcoming guest after guest onto the tiny stage.

    Jazz Night in America stops into the Greenwich Village club to listen closely.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .