A Jazz Celebration

COMPOSERS: The Marsalis Family
LABELS: Marsalis
PERFORMER: The Marsalis Family


A living embodiment of the dialectic that is jazz exists in the shape of the MARSALIS family.

Elder brothers Wynton and Branford, especially, have not always seen eye to eye over what the music should be (Wynton the traditionalist v Branford the moderniser). Not that you would guess from the new live family recording made in New Orleans, their home town. Perhaps it is father Ellis’s unifying presence at the piano, but the siblings roll along cheerfully and generously. Amazingly, this is the first time that all four sons have stood on the same stand together.

Even then, busy schedules meant that only one rehearsal was possible. That could only be for the good, as no swagger is lost in the impromptu trading of choruses between Wynton (trumpet), Branford (tenor sax), Delfeayo (trombone) and Jason (drums). Ellis comps patiently and reassuringly in the background, occasionally stepping in to round up the tune and take it home.


There will always be a place for the music of New Orleans and standards like ‘Struttin’ With Some Barbecue’ (which closes the Marsalis family album). But jazz music’s centre of gravity is shifting. Importantly, it is moving towards a place that is no longer hung up on notions of tradition.