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15 Jan

Jason Marsalis Interview

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It could be said that Jason Marsalis was born to a family of innovators. It could also be said he was born into the first family of jazz. His father, Ellis Marsalis, is a renowned pianist, jazz educator, and patriarch of a musical dynasty that includes four independently minded sons: eldest Branford Marsalis, a saxophonist who no one ever called a conformist; visionary trumpeter and Pulitzer Prize-winner Wynton Marsalis; Delfeayo Marsalis, going his own way on the trombone; and youngest brother, Jason Marsalis, extending the horizons on the drums.George Voudiklaris has met Jason Marsalis for an exclusive interview.

1. In what age did you realise that your life would have to do with music ?
 It was after I had recorded the album "Pontius Pilate's Decision" with my older brother Delfeayo that I knew that music was going to be my career.
2. You come from a family with many famous musicians , and your name is well-known. How easy and how difficult has this made things in your life ?
Having the last name has offered me opportunity in the music business.  The only difficulty is that even though we are individuals, many view us as having the same point of view.  That's a very minor problem however.
3. Your collaboration with Marcus Roberts has been long. What are the things that bring you close musically?
Our respect for the tradition and how to use all of the music from the 20th century into the 21st.
4. You have had musical studies, unlike many jazz musicians of the previous generations. In what way does this make you different ?
Jazz musicians have always studied.  However, there's more jazz studies programs than there have been in the past.  What makes my situation different is that I went to school but also learned from my family and various musicians on the jazz scene around the country.
5. Jazz today has many different styles. In which tradition do you feel you belong ?
I belong to the jazz tradition that includes all music of the 20th century.  If any style needs a percussionist, I'll be prepared to play it.
6. Please tell us about the group you will be bringing with you to Athens.
Joining me on vibraphone will be Austin Johnson on piano, Will Goble on bass, and David Potter on drums.  I met them at Florida State University while doing a residency.  They were serious about the music so I decided to start hiring them for shows.  There was definitely potential there so I decided to keep using them.  The music has been evolving and growing ever sense.
7. What are your future plans and collaborations? Is there a jazz musician that you haven't worked with yet, and you would like to ?
In a few months, I will be releasing an album by my father, Ellis Marsalis, entitled "On the Second Occasion", music we recorded years ago.  An album I recorded with Craig Handy entitled "2nd Line Smith" is being released next week.  Marcus Roberts will be releasing an album we did with his Modern Jazz Generation group with horns entitled "Romance, Swing, and the Blues". I'm also working on a follow-up to my group's latest release, "In a World of Mallets".  I'm hoping to record it over the summer and release it in the Fall. One jazz musician that I haven't worked with that I would like to is Wayne Shorter.  I've always loved how he lets music take over and I would love to participate with him in that process.  A few others would be Herbie Hancock and Ahmad Jamal to name a few.  I hope to collaborate with them one day.

Interview George Voudiklaris – January 2014

More about Jason Marsalis http://jazzonline.gr/en/articlesinterviews/musicians-in-town/item/1028-jason-marsalis-vibes-quartet.html


Last modified on Friday, 06 June 2014 12:18