Articles | Popular | Future

NEW YORK BEAT

Ellis Marsalis: New York City, NY, November 9, 2012

Read "Ellis Marsalis: New York City, NY, November 9, 2012" reviewed by Nick Catalano

Although pianist Ellis Marsalis has garnered countless plaudits for his teaching at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and as chair of the Jazz Studies department at the University of New Orleans he rarely gets critical notice in these parts for his pianism. For decades, he has shaped the lives of countless jazz musicians including trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Nicholas Payton, pianist singer Harry Connick Jr., and his own four musical sons. During his career, the 78 year-old pianist's ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ellis Marsalis: A New Orleans Christmas Carol

Read "A New Orleans Christmas Carol" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Christmas music doesn't usually come into stores, radios and homes until Thanksgiving time but, in a year when snow covered the East Coast before Halloween, early arrivals seem to be the norm. Guitarist Doug Munro delivered a Django Reinhardt-styled set of holiday classics on A Very Gypsy Christmas (GotMusic, 2011) in September; pianist Geri Allen tackled songs of the season on A Child Is Born, which hit stores around Columbus Day; and now, 2011 NEA Jazz Master Ellis Marsalis joins ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ellis Marsalis: An Open Letter to Thelonious

Read "An Open Letter to Thelonious" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Pianist Ellis Marsalis' An Open Letter to Thelonious is more than just another homage to the mystique and magic of Thelonious Monk's music.

Marsalis is no stranger to the Monk's music, but it is hardly an area of specialty for the patriarch pianist. As a native of New Orleans, he went against stereotype by not specializing in either trad jazz or R&B. Beginning in the late '50s, he played with mainstream players like Ed Blackwell, Cannonball and Nat ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ellis Marsalis Quartet: An Open Letter to Thelonious

Read "An Open Letter to Thelonious" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

To many, he is the patriarch of America's most celebrated jazz family. But to those who've heard him play, he's a talent not to be overlooked. Ellis Marsalis is one of the most respected among the New Orleans-based jazz artists. A former Marine, he played the circuit in New Orleans before hooking up with Ornette Coleman. Over the years, Marsalis built an extensive resume as musician, professor of music and, of course, father to Wynton, Branford, Ellis III, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Ellis Marsalis Quartet: An Open Letter to Thelonious

Read "An Open Letter to Thelonious" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Thelonious Monk is jazz's biggest enigma. Called the “high priest of bebop," the jazz Monk composed and performed was anything but. Technically, Monk's time and tempo were impressive, but he was no dazzling speed wizard like Bud Powell or arpeggio painter like Art Tatum. He didn't compose bebop, but bebop leaders recorded his compositions. What Monk was...was Monk. He was the singular jazz spirit that makes jazz jazz and his songbook the richest in the music.

Monk's compositions, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ellis Marsalis: Ruminations in New York

Read "Ruminations in New York" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

This nice, rather than exciting, solo piano set pays tribute, consciously or not, to the late John Lewis's last campaign: on behalf of the Great American Songbook ballads which Lewis insisted were, with the blues, the foundation of jazz since the 1920s. Inspired no doubt by years creating his own melodic lines on Kern, Arlen & Co's tunes, Marsalis here produces several of his own on the old template, doing some classic things with them.His opener ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ellis Marsalis: Afternoon Session

Read "Afternoon Session" reviewed by Dave Nathan

The circumstances surrounding this session which took place more than 30 years ago are illuminating. Drummer Lee Charlton struck up a friendship with Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of the famous jazz family, while in New Orleans. In 1968, Marsalis notified Charlton he was coming to Nevada with New Orleans trumpeter Al Hirt's band. Marsalis and three other members of the Hirt outfit collaborated with Charlton to record a tape which gathered dust until last year when it was released.

The music ...


Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.