The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration commemorates the talented Marsalis family. Sons Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis, along with Harry Connick Jr., join the great educator and musician Ellis Marsalis for an unforgettable concert event. The program airs on PBS Thursday, February 20, 2003, 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings).
This special was taped in August 2001, at the Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. The concert proceeds were used to endow the Jazz Studies Program at the University of New Orleans in Ellis Marsalis' name. Marsalis, who has taught music in New Orleans for more than 35 years, is the program's founding director. He returned to New Orleans in 1989 to begin the program after three years as coordinator of jazz studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
The Marsalis family members and Connick deliver a fabulous performance, and throughout the program, each family member and Connick share their stories. Connick, one of Marsalis' most well-known students, shares memories of playing the piano at Ellis' house when he was 13 years old. He remembers how honored he was to play on that piano.
Jazz and other musical selections performed are "Struttin With Some Barbeque" by Louis and Lil Hardin Armstrong, "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, "Sultry Serenade" by Tyree Glenn, "Cain and Abel" by Branford Marsalis and the unforgettable finale, "12's It," written by Ellis Marsalis and performed by the whole Marsalis family, Harry Connick Jr. and up-and-coming bassist Roland Guerin.
What did the musicians think of their concert?
Harry Connick Jr. said, "I've played for presidents and queens and every other thing - nothing made me feel better than seeing my name up there with the Marsalis'." Delfeayo said, "One, it lived up to the hype, the expectation. And two, it was an accurate representation of our family collectively and individually - who we are as people and where we are as musicians." Jason remarked, "We got on stage and the music just took off."
Underwriters: Acura, Public Television Viewers, PBS and Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Presenter: WYES New Orleans. Executive producers: Randall Feldman and Elizabeth Arroyo Utterback. Producer/director: Phillip Byrd. Editor: Janet Shapiro.