About this episode:
Wynton Marsalis was born into a musical tradition. He grew up in New Orleans, home of the best jazz musicians around – including his father, jazz-great Ellis Marsalis.
But Wynton Marsalis is a master in his own right. Back in 1984, when he was just 22 years old, he won two Grammy awards for his performances in jazz and classical music. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his record Blood on the Fields. Then in 2007, he released From the Plantation to the Penitentiary and it hit number two on the Billboard charts.
Marsalis now works as the artistic director at Jazz at Lincoln Center. That’s where, in 2018, he debuted the work that would lay the foundation of his newest album: “The Ever Fonky Lowdown.” The album is deeply political, narrated by actor Wendall Pierce – a high school friend of Marsalis. And it’s dedicated to his father, who passed away from coronavirus complications this spring.
On Into America, Marsalis talks with host Trymaine Lee about his writing process, how politics influences his music, and the magic of New Orleans.
Find the transcript here.
- Listen to The Ever Fonky Lowdown here.
- Wynton Marsalis on racism in the Trump era
- Wynton Marsalis tells how he's encouraging his students to join the conversation on civil rights
- Ellis Marsalis, jazz patriarch, dies at 85 after coronavirus diagnosis