The celebrated New Orleans-based Marsalis family, one of the best-known clans in jazz history, has come together for a live recording, “The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration,” to be released Feb. 4 on the Marsalis Music label. The disc features performances by all the musical Marsalises — patriarch pianist Ellis and his sons, saxophonist Branford, trumpeter Wynton, trombonist Delfeayo, and drummer Jason — joined by bassist Roland Guerin and pianist Harry Connick Jr., the latter a former student of Ellis’.
The album documents an Aug. 4, 2001, concert where the Marsalis clan played together on stage for the first time at a concert honoring Ellis and New Orleans’ jazz heritage through Louis Armstrong (the date would have been the late Armstrong’s 100th birthday).
“Everybody came to play the music as well as they possibly could play it,” Branford said in a statement about the show, which Delfeayo assents “reflected our family collectively and individually.”
The songs feature the players in trio, quartet, and sextet arrangements through renditions of Ellis’ own compositions “Swinging at the Haven,” “After,” “Nostalgic Impressions,” and “Twelve’s It,” as well as the Rodgers and Hammerstein tune “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top,” Branford’s “Cain and Abel,” and the Armstrong classic “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue.”
The Marsalis family is planning a national tour, a DVD, and a PBS special for the upcoming months. For more information, visit their official Web site.
Here is the track list to “The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration”:
“Swinging at the Haven”
“The Surrey With the Fringe on Top”
“Cain and Abel”
“Saint James Infirmary”
“Struttin’ With Some Barbecue”