Internationally acclaimed trombonist, composer, producer and 2011 NEA Jazz Master Delfeayo Marsalis comes to DC with his Quintet – alto saxophonist Mark Gross, pianist Stephen Gordon, bassist David Pulphus and drummer Winard Harper – for a performance at The Avalon Theatre, 40 East Dover Street, Easton, MD at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 29th. Tickets are $45. For tickets and information, please call 410-822–7299 or log on to http://tickets.avalontheatre.com/.
Delfeayo Marsalis (pronounced Del-feo) is one of the top trombonists, composers and producers in jazz today. Known for his “technical excellence, inventive mind and frequent touches of humorŠ” (Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times), he is “…one of the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation.” (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner.) In January 2011, Delfeayo and the Marsalis family (father Ellis and brothers Branford, Wynton and Jason) earned the nation’s highest jazz honor – a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award. He has also received a Big Easy and Best of the Beat Award for outstanding trombonist in his hometown of New Orleans. 2011 also saw the release of Sweet Thunder, his CD which gives the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn suite Such Sweet Thunder a modern day makeover. The CD earned a place on numerous top CDs of the year lists and wide critical acclaim including 4 stars in USA Today and 5 stars in the Financial Times:
“Marsalis’ inventive writing, along with the musical courage he showed in reworking this classic, makes Sweet Thunder well worth placing alongside Duke’s original masterwork” -Scott Yanow, JAZZIZ
“Marsalis has had the audacity to stand on the shoulders of a giant, and stands nearly as tall.” -Paul Devlin, The Root
“Thunder swaggers in like the fastest gun in the West, packing a high-caliber octet featuring Mulgrew Miller, Tiger Okoshi, Mark Shim, and Marsalis’ brothers Branford and JasonŠ This is one of the best trad-jazz recordings of the last ten years, as well as a stirring tribute to Ellington” – J. Hunter, AlbanyJazz.com
Born into a musical family in the birthplace of jazz, Delfeayo was destined to a life in music. “I remember laying under the grand piano as a child, while my dad (Ellis) practiced. His sound is so warm and comforting that I realized I wanted to play with as much love and passion when I was older.” After briefly trying bass and drums, Delfeayo chose the trombone in sixth grade, which he says is, ” a natural extension of my personality.” Early influences included J.J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, Al Grey, Tyree Glenn, Tommy Dorsey and Ellington’s trombone masters. Marsalis attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts high school, was classically trained at the Eastern Music Festival and Tanglewood Institute, and majored in both performance and audio production at the Berklee College of Music. He earned a Masters degree in jazz performance at the University of Louisville and was conferred a doctorate by New England College.
About the time that he first started playing trombone, Marsalis was already greatly interested in the recording process. “Branford showed me how to create a feedback loop on a reel to reel machine and I was hooked! When I was in seventh grade, Wynton challenged me to create home recordings of him that had the same quality as trumpet virtuoso Maurice Andre’s classical studio recordings. It was all trial and error and I discovered a process and logic that I still use while recording today.” Delfeayo recorded demo tapes for his brothers, schoolmates and served an internship at (pianist Allen Toussaint’s) Sea Saint Studio. From the age of 17 until the present, he has produced over 100 recordings for major artists including Harry Connick, Jr, Spike Lee, Terence Blanchard, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the projects of his father and brothers.
Marsalis is an exceptional trombonist who has toured internationally with his own groups, as well as those led by five renowned bandleaders. “Art Blakey taught me patience and purpose in soloing; Abdullah Ibrahim’s sense of harmony is prevalent in much of my music; Slide Hampton inspired me with his extraordinary command of the trombone and the language of jazz; and Max Roach played with conviction and dexterity all the time. Elvin Jones (who is featured on Delfeayo’sMinions Dominion) taught me about humanity, expressing myself through music, and most importantly, how to keep time.” The lessons of these legendary artists can be heard throughout Delfeayo’s compositions and improvisations still today.
As a composer and arranger, Delfeayo has always shown a flair for the dramatic. His 1st CD, Pontius Pilate’s Decision was inspired by biblical tales and 2011’s stunning Sweet Thunder, gives the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn suite Such Sweet Thunder a modern day makeover. Rather than merely recreating the classic work, which is comprised of musical depictions of characters from William Shakespeare’s plays, Marsalis took the work as a point of departure for his octet, creating fresh and new music with inspired performances.
To further inspire New Orleans youth through arts education, Delfeayo founded the Uptown Music Theatre in 2000 and has implemented its Kidstown After School in three New Orleans grammar schools. He has composed over 80 songs that help introduce kids to jazz through musical theatre and has reached over 5,000 students nationally with his Swinging with the Cool School soft introduction to jazz workshops.