with erin propp and larry roy
doors 7 pm | show 8 PM
$45 Advance | $25 Student - Standing
Presented with the Park Theatre and the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra
Delfeayo Marsalis is one of the top trombonists, composers and producers in jazz today. Described as “one of the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation” (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner), he comes from an esteemed musical lineage. In 2011, the Marsalis family (Delfeayo, his father Ellis, and brothers Branford, Wynton, and Jason) were recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, one of the highest honors in jazz.
For this show, Delfeayo brings with him the Uptown Jazz Orchestra. The orchestra was formed in 2008 as a multi-generational ensemble of New Orleans’ finest musicians. The group strives to preserve and present the essence of big band and jazz traditions, and bring the traditional riff and blues sounds to school students in the New Orleans area.
The group is led by Delfeayo and anchored by Dirty Dozen Brass Band founder Roger Lewis on bari sax. The orchestra performs original compositions, blues and jazz standards that combine riff-playing, spontaneity, collective improvisation, and New Orleans second line groove. Individually, the musicians of UJO have championed the jazz art form in locations throughout the world as well as in the recording studio.
The mission of UJO is to reach and extend jazz audiences in all communities without regard to economic class, sharing the importance of music and its history. Members of the orchestra range in experience from young students attending New Orleans area universities and schools, to respected music industry veterans.
Born in New Orleans, Delfeayo was destined to a life in music. “I remember my dad playing piano at the house, and me laying underneath the piano as a child, listening to him play. After briefly trying bass and drums, in sixth grade I gravitated towards the trombone, which was an 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 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, Delfeayo was already greatly interested in the recording process. He recorded demo tapes for his brothers and 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 his father and brothers.
Delfeayo has gone on to tour 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 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 debut Pontius Pilate’s Decision (1992) was inspired by biblical tales, and 2010’s stunning Sweet Thunder gives the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn suite Such Sweet Thunder a modern day makeover. He also created an original theatrical jazz production, “Sweet Thunder: Duke & Shak,” which toured widely in 2011.
Among Delfeayo’s six albums as a leader is the 1997 quintet date Musashi, which was praised by the All Music Guide for its “passionate originals… willingness to take chances and stretch himself, and the result is consistently stirring post-bop music.” The Last Southern Gentlemen (2014) is his first album-length collaboration with his father, Ellis. Incorporating Delfeayo’s writings—including an essay on the sociological/historical themes that define the recording, commentary on the music, and original stories, children’s tales and poetry—The Last Southern Gentlemen saw New Orleans jazz royalty combine for an album of swinging playing and sociological heft.
Marsalis has also been long involved in work as an educator. Working to inspire New Orleans youth through arts education, Delfeayo founded the Uptown Music Theatre in 2000 and has implemented its Kidstown After School program in three New Orleans grammar schools. In addition, 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.
The MusicLink Foundation
A portion of the proceeds from this performance will be donated to The MusicLink Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that matches music students in need with experienced teachers. This is made possible by a unique partnership between Delfeayo's booking agency Epstein & Company, and the MusicLink Foundation. To learn more about this initiative please visit the MusicLink website.