THE ICON: Ellis Marsalis Jr.
THE LEGACY: Jazz might be the house that Buddy and Jelly Roll built — and to which Satchmo, Jumbo, Pete and others added a major addition. But when it comes to keeping New Orleans’ native art form alive through the late 20th and early 21st century, it’s hard to think of anyone more vital than Ellis Marsalis. Not only did he father a musical brood — including Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason — but through his years as a teacher at the University of New Orleans, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and Xavier University, the elder Marsalis has kept the welcome mat out on Jelly Roll’s house, and kept a fire burning to warm the hearts (and fingers) of countless young musicians.
THE ARTIST: Jeff Morgan, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “Ellis really had a vision of what jazz education needed to be. And it wasn’t about notes and half notes. It was about the cultures that feed into jazz, and the environment of disciplined innovation that jazz greatness has to have.” — Former UNO Chancellor Gregory O’Brien, upon Marsalis’ retirement