We just lost Ellis Marsalis. Earlier this week we lost Wallace Roney. I think we’ll be adding more names to the list before all this is over. I’m sharing this 2009 interview with Ellis as a way to honor his memory. Take care of each other, OK?
Ellis Marsalis is more than the father of four famous sons. He’s an acclaimed pianist and educator in his own right, and his musical history has covered a lot of ground. Homecoming (ELM Records, 2009), his new CD, is a mix of old and new, combining a reissue of 1985 duet session with saxophonist Eddie Harris, and new music recorded in 2009 with fellow New Orleanian pianist Jonathan Batiste. In this interview, Marsalis talks about how his time in the Marines helped build his piano chops; how he got his gig with trumpeter Al Hirt; and what makes New Orleans “fertile ground” for a jazz musician.