Wynton Marsalis is an American Composer, teacher, music educator and trumpet player. He is of African American descent. Marsalis was born on 1961 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Dolores and Ellis Louis Marsalis. Wynton is among 5 other siblings, in which he is the second of six sons. Wynton was born into a very musical family as his brothers very into music as well as him but Just not as successful. His brother Ellis Marsalis began playing as a tenor saxophonist but switched to piano while he was still attending high school.
His brother Branford Marsalis a saxophone player as well as composer and bandleader. Delfeayo Marsalis, on of Wynton’s younger brothers plays the trombone and is also a record producer. Jason Marsalis, also one of Wynton’s younger brothers is a Jazz drummer and member of the famous New Orleans Marsalis Jazz musical family. It seems that music really does run in this family. Their father Ellis Marsalis is a musician and teacher. Their mother Dolores Marsalis, sung in Jazz bands and is very fund of music and a lover of music as well.
Wynton was only at the age of 6 when he started to play the trumpet. Around the age of 8, Just a couple of years later, Wynton became a part of the church band his family attended. When Wynton was 14 years old, he began playing with the New Orleans Philharmonic. Music was a big part of his life, almost all of his life. At the age of 17 years old, Wynton became the youngest musician to ever get accepted into one of the best musical schools there is. He was accepted into Tangle wood’s Berkshire Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Marsalis after he attended Berkshire, made a big move to a big city. He made a move to New York City, where he attended the Julliard School. There he Joined Art Blakely and his band called the Jazz Messengers. Around the year of 1982, Wynton was signed to Columbia Records and not too longer after released his first self-titled Jazz album. The album received rave reviews and top the charts. Wynton once said when asked in an interview was his father a big influence in his decision to pursue music.
Wynton replied that his father was in fact a big influence stating that he received his first trumpet as a Christmas gift when he was 6 years old, which was when he first started to play. “My father was an example to me, because of the type of integrity he had when he would play. I also liked the musicians that my father played with. They were always around: James Black the drummer, Nat Perlatt on saxophone. I liked Richard Payne the bass player, the great clarinetist Alvin Batiste. John Fernandez was a great trumpet player and a teacher. I didn’t like the music they played so much but I liked them.
And I always liked to hang at the gigs and listen to them play and see what was going on”. Wynton had many other music influences including Monk, Duke, Miles, Charlie Parker, Jelly Roll Morton and a host of others. He said he always loved Jazz music because of the way artists he liked played. It influenced him to want to be a Jazz musician. Wynton is now an Artistic Director in New York City at the Jazz of Lincoln Center but before he settled there, he made a lot ot movements wit n his music and received countless honors, including, Grammys and a host of other awards.
In 1987, Marsalis co-founded a Jazz program at Lincoln Center. In July 1996, Jazz at Lincoln Center was installed as a new constituent of Lincoln Center. In October 2004, Marsalis opened Frederick P. Rose Hall, the world’s first institution for Jazz containing three performance spaces (including the first oncert hall designed specifically for Jazz), along with recording, broadcast, rehearsal and educational facilities. Marsalis presently[when? ] serves as Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center and Music Director for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. citation needed] One of his most recent releases was a 2011 collaboration with blues-rock guitarist Eric Clapton, a Jazz at Lincoln Center concert that produced the live album Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues. He has appeared on television shows, written musical books and has even played for the President of the United States. On Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, the Wynton Marsalis Quintet played at White House for a private party in honor of President Barack Obama.
On January 19, Wynton also played at Kennedy Center with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Wynton made history when he became the first musician to win Grammy awards for both Jazz and classical recordings. He became the first Jazz artist to receive and win the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Opera named “Blood on the Fields”. In 2005, Wynton was given the National Medal of Arts. Wynton’s success is not only limited to the United States either.
Britain’s Royal Academy of Music awarded him Honorary Membership, in 2009 and he was granted Frances highest award, the “insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honor”. Marsalis still seems to stay at his roots though, no matter how much success and accolades he has received. He was quick to respond to New Orleans during Katrina, appearing in television ads and organizing Higher Ground, a benefit at Lincoln Center. Although never married, Marsalis is said to have four children, it seems he really does fit the saying of “married to music”.
To this day Wynton Marsalis is the most recognized and awarded Jazz musician and classic players to date. He has taken music to an entire different level and has very well succeeded in the process. Although he had his musical influences growing up and people he gives thanks to, now he has the honor of having millions of people look up to him and admire him for his music and his love for music.