The Marsalis name ranks high among the jazz hierarchy of New Orleans and the nation. Ellis Marsalis and his four sons have gathered numerous accolades. Like his brothers, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis follows his own path in keeping the jazz tradition alive, but he does it without as much publicity as brothers Wynton and Branford. He took time out of a recording session for an interview with NUVO.
NUVO: You have only recorded three CDs in over a decade. Why not more?
DM: The main reason is without a working band, to me it’s less feasible to develop music than to develop material. I know of a number of guys who put out CDs that are not as well-conceived because they have pickup bands. I decided to play with Elvin Jones and be a member of his band. It made sense to me to just wait, because I have been working on so much material.
NUVO: You have received numerous awards for your production skills and compositions. Which do you favor more: performing, producing or composing?
DM: I think it’s not a question of which one is more meaningful. We need all of those aspects to make the whole.
NUVO: Do you feel the jazz tradition is gaining or losing ground among young audiences?
DM: I think most things we consider that have substance are losing ground with the youngsters. Jazz is part of that equation. On the flip side, lots of people around the world are swinging. Yes, we are losing ground in society, but there are guys out there who are trying to make up for that.
The Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet makes its Indy debut Saturday, Jan. 13 at the Jazz Kitchen. Marsalis is touring to support his latest CD, Minions Dominions. Shows are $20 at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Harry Miedema, director of jazz studies at the University of Indianapolis, announced that world-renowned jazz saxophonist Jamey Abersold has donated $50,000 to the University of Indianapolis jazz studies program. The funds will be used for scholarships, to hire guest artists, to purchase new instruments and to provide educational materials and promote instructional clinics.