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Heart of Gold

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Album Review

Pianist Ellis Marsalis, despite his connections to Ornette Coleman in the 1950s and his home base being New Orleans, is actually at his best when playing lightly swinging bop in a standard trio. Although he spent a period of time as Al Hirt's pianist, his renditions on this CD of such traditional numbers as "Dr. Jazz," "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "Sweet Georgia Brown" contain no stride or trad elements. Instead the enjoyable set (which also features Ray Brown or Reginald Veal on bass and either Billy Higgins or Herlin Riley on drums) often displays the influence of Wynton Kelly and players of his generation. As a footnote, "This Can't Be Love" is the recording debut of 14-year-old drummer Jason Marsalis.


Born: 14 November 1934 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

It is a bit ironic that Ellis Marsalis had to wait for sons Wynton and Branford to get famous before he was able to record on a regular basis, but Ellis finally received his long-overdue recognition. The father of six sons (including Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason), Ellis Marsalis' main importance to jazz may very well be as a jazz educator; his former pupils (in addition to his sons) include Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Harry Connick, Jr., Nicholas Payton, and Kent and Marlon Jordan,...
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Heart of Gold, Ellis Marsalis
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