This Week In Music

Performing in a modernist style, pianist Ellis Marsalis is one of the few New Orleans musicians of his generation not to specialize in R&B or Dixieland. Marsalis is almost as well known as the father of Wynton, Branford, and four other musically talented sons as he is for his modern jazz stylings on piano.

At age 11 in 1944, Marsalis began his formal music education at Xavier University Junior School of Music. Following high school, Marsalis was a clarinet major at New Orleans' Dillard University, from which he graduated in 1955. Two years later, Marsalis joined the U.S. Marine Corps, which gave him an opportunity to hone his piano talent on the Marine's TV show, Dress Blues, and radio program Leatherneck Songbook.

After his stint in the Marines, Marsalis moved back to Louisiana and accepted a high school band and choral director role while freelancing on the local music scene. Inspired by bebop, Marsalis, along with drummer Ed Blackwell, clarinetist Alvin Batiste, and saxophonist Harold Battiste formed the avant-garde jazz group American Jazz Quartet later garnering positive attention from multi-instrumentalist and composer Ornette Coleman.

In 1963 Marsalis, drummer James Black, and tenor saxophonist Nat Perilliat performed as the Down Home New Stars on the Nat and Cannonball Adderley album In the Bag. There followed several years of freelancing accompanied by teaching stints at Xavier University and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts High School (NOCAA) to support his family.

At NOCCA Marsalis taught many students who went on to be leading jazz artists, including alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, pianist Harry Connick, Jr., and others.

Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia hired Marsalis as a professor in 1986 where he remained until 1989, when he accepted the University of New Orleans' offer to head their Jazz Studies program, which he chaired for 12 years.

Recognition as a performer came to Marsalis in the '80s and '90s spurred in part by the fame he had acquired as an instructor. Fathers and Sons, a 1982 album with his sons Branford and Wynton, was the first of a series of albums Marsalis recorded over the next decade.

Marsalis has received honorary doctorates from Dillard University in 1989 and Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana in 1997. He started his own label—ELM Records—to have the creative control to bring his musical projects to fruition.


Hal Leonard Leonard Bernstein Jazz Play-Along Volume 92 Book/CDAt only 25 years old, the enormously multi-talented Leonard Bernstein was practically catapulted to fame by a chance event in 1943.

Bernstein studied music at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, after graduating from Harvard. Following Curtis, Bernstein participated in the famous Tanglewood music venue in Lenox, Massachusetts. During the summers of 1940 and 1941 at Tanglewood, he met composer Aaron Copland and became conductor Serge Koussevitzky's assistant. Bernstein then took odd jobs as a music transcriber and dance accompanist in New York. After two years of this freelancing, Bernstein's, mentor Koussevitsky recommended his appointment as assistant to conductor Artur Rodzinski at the New York Philharmonic in 1943.

Unfortunately the job, though steady, gave Bernstein few opportunities to conduct. Most of his time was spent screening new scores and learning orchestral programs as an understudy conductor.

On November 14, all this changed when guest conductor Bruno Walter was too ill to go on at Carnegie Hall—where he was scheduled to conduct a nationally broadcast concert with the Philharmonic.

With less than 24 hours' notice and no rehearsal, Bernstein led the Philharmonic through a program filled with difficult musical works. And he didn't just lead. Bernstein's performance riveted the audience, who soon realized that they were witnessing a historic concert. Bernstein's conducting was charismatic, vigorous, and electrifying. At that time, conductor Walter was considered a legend, but Bernstein's performance created a new legend.

Violinist Jacques Margolis commented later, "The orchestra stood up and cheered. We were open-mouthed. That man was the most extraordinary musician I have ever met in my life." The audience enthusiastically recalled Bernstein to the stage with waves of applause.

The next day, the New York Times put its review on the front page. Bernstein instantly became a celebrity, receiving dozens of guest conducting offers and going on to a brilliant musical career.


Week of October 07, 2011
Birthday: Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, November 6, 1949

Event: Birth of Composer John Philip Sousa, November 6, 1854

Week of October 31, 2011
Event: Billboard Started Publishing as Billboard Advertising, November 1, 1894

Birthday: Trumpeter Clifford Brown, October30, 1930

Week of October 24, 2011
Event: James Brown records Live at the Apollo, Volume I, October 24, 1962

Birthday: Trombonist Robin Eubanks, October 25, 1955

Week of October 17, 2011
Event: Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra record "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," October 18, 1935

Birthday: Trumpeter Roy Hargrove, October 16, 1969

Week of October 10, 2011
Event: October 11, 1939 CBS Vibraphone Performer Dave Samuels Records "Body and Soul"

Birthday: Vibraphone Performer Dave Samuels, October 9, 1948

Week of October 3, 2011
Event: CBS Radio broadcasts The New York Philharmonic Orchestra live from Carnegie Hall for the first time, October 5, 1930

Birthday: Blues Guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn, October 3, 1954

Week of September 26, 2011
Event: Composer Leonard Bernstein's musical West Side Story opens at New York's Winter Garden Theater, September 26, 1957

Birthday: Violinist and composer Jean-Luc Ponty, September 29, 1942

Week of September 19, 2011
Event: Fiddler on the Roof Open on Broadway Starting a Run that Extends to 3,242 Performances

Birthday: Cornetist Jim Cullum, Jr, September 20, 1941

Week of September 12, 2011
Event: The Metropolitan Opera Opens its New Opera House at New York's Lincoln Center
for the Performing Arts

Birthday: Trumpeter Brian Lynch, September 12, 1956

Week of September 5, 2011
Event: Singer Songwriter, and Record Producer Otis Redding,
Records His Hit "(Sitting on) The Dock of the Bay"

Birthday: Sonny Rollins, September 7, 1930

Week of August 29, 2011
Event: George Gershwin Completes the Orchestral Score for His Opera Porgy and Bess

Birthday: Charlie Parker, August 29, 1920

Week of August 22, 2011
Event: Charles G. Conn Receives a Patent for the Metal Clarinet

Birthday: Leonard Bernstein, August 25, 1918

Week of August 15, 2011
Event: The New York Times Reports that Dolby had Developed a Noise Reduction System for Album and Tape Recording

Birthday: Marc O'Connor, August 15, 1961

Week of August 08, 2011
Event: 14-Year-Old Benny Goodman Works as a Clarinet Player on a Lake Michigan Excursion Boat

Birthday: Pat Metheny, August 12, 1954

Week of August 01, 2011
Event: The Army of France Adds Saxophonesto its Military Bands

Birthday: Tony Bennett, August 3, 1926

Week of July 18, 2011
Event: First Newport Jazz Festival

Birthday: Carl Fontana Born July 18, 1928

Week of July 11, 2011
Event: "His Masters Voice" Trademark Registered

Birthday: Bélla Fleck Born July 10, 1958

Week of July 5, 2011
Event: Benny Goodman and His Band Record "Sing, Sing, Sing"

Birthday: Pinetop Perkins Born July 7, 1913

Week of June 27, 2011
Event: Cab Calloway and His Orchestra Record "St. James Infirmary""

Birthday: Pete Fountain Born July 3, 1930

Week of June 20, 2011
Event: 19 Year-Old Arturo Toscanini Conducts the Rio de Janeiro Orchestra in a Performance of "Aida"

Birthday: Lalo Schifrin Born June 21, 1932

Week of June 13, 2011
Event: New York Jazz Museum Opens

Birthday: Marcus Miller Born June 14, 1959

Week of June 06, 2011
Event: Jelly Roll Morton Records "Jelly Roll Blues" As a Piano Solo

Birthday: Bill Watrous Born June 08, 1939

Week of May 30, 2011
Event: 1962 Bandleader Benny Goodman Leads The First American Jazz Band to Play In The Soviet Union

Birthday: Benny Goodman Born May 30, 1909

Week of May 23, 2011
Event: "In a Precursor to Outdoor Rock Festivals, Ray Charles and B.B. King Perform For 9,000 Fans in Atlanta

Birthday: Miles Davis Born May 26, 1926

Week of May 16, 2011
Event: "When The Saints Go Marching In" Recorded by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra

Birthday: Woody Herman Born May 16, 1913

Week of May 2, 2011
Event: New York's Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center Announces Addition of Rock, Pop, and Jazz Concerts

Birthday: Maynard Ferguson Born May 4, 1928

Week of April 25, 2011
Event: At Decca Studios Charlie Parker Made His First Commercial Recording April 30, 1941

Birthday: Duke Ellington Born April 29, 1899

Week of April 18, 2011
Event: Pipeless Organ Patented by Laurens Hammond April 24, 1934

Birthday: Tito Puente Born April 20, 1923

Week of April 4, 2011
Event: Herp Alpert Born April 4, 1939

Birthday: Freddie Hubbard Born April 7, 1938

Week of March 28, 2011
Birthday: Michael Brecker Born March 29, 1949

Birthday: Herp Alpert Born March 31, 1935

Week of March 14, 2011
Event: Joseph Haydn's Surprise Symphony Is Performed for the First Time March 23, 1792

Birthday: Johann Sebastian Bach Born March 21, 1685

Week of March 7, 2011
Event: Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians Recorded Auld Lang Syne March 7, 1939

Birthday: Leon Bismark (Bix) Beiderbecke March 10, 1903

Week of February 28, 2011
Event: Miles Davis Records "Kind of Blue" on Columbia Records March 2, 1959
Birthday: Frédéric Chopin Marc 1, 1810

Week of February 21, 2011
Event: Duke Ellington Records "The Queen's Suite"
Birthday: Dexter Gordon February 27, 1923

Week of February 14, 2011
Event: Sonny Rollins Records his Title Track "The Bridge" February 14, 1962
Birthday: Buddy DeFranco February 17, 1923

Week of February 7, 2011
Event: Rhapsody in Blue is Performed for the First Time February 12, 1924
Birthday: Marion "Buddy" Childers February 12, 1926

Week of January 31, 2011
Event: Frank Sinatra Debuts on Radio's "Your Hit Parade" February 6, 1943
Birthday: Stanley "Stan" Getz February 2, 1927

Week of January 24, 2011
Event: Original Dixieland Jazz Band Makes the First Jazz Record January 30, 1917
Birthday: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart January 27, 1756