Wynton Learson Marsalis is renowned American musician, known for his trumpeting, composing and teaching abilities. Born on October 18, 1961 in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, Marsalis has won almost 9 Grammy Awards promoting the sanctity and depth of Jazz and Classical music to young listeners. He is also familiar with the workings of the cornet, flumpet and flugelhorn, focusing most of musical passion in genres such as Jazz, post-bop, jazz poetry, classical and Baroque.
Wynton Marsalis is a giant in the world of Jazz and Classical music, revered for his tremendous skill behind an instrument his first picked up when only six years of age. The 54 year old released his first album in 1982, and has been producing music and performing at acclaimed stages all around the world. Marsalis was raised in a musical family, with his father as a famous musician teacher and older brother serving in similar roles. By age 8, he was performing regularly in his church and by age 14, he had the opportunity to play with the New Orleans Philharmonic. He is the grandson of late businessman Ellis Marsalis, Sr., and brother of saxophonist Branford, trombonist Delfeayo, and drummer Jason. By his late teenage years, Marsalis’ skill was noticed by many top notch schools in the country. At age 17, he became the youngest musician to be accepted in the Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. He joined the Juilliard School in New York soon after, eventually teaming up with Art Blakey and his band, the Jazz Messengers. His performances with the band made him a force to be reckoned with. Signing up a record deal with Columbia Records in 1982, he released a self-titled album in the same year marking the beginning of a long and prosperous career.
For the next three to four years, Marsalis would continually beat records in becoming the first musician to win Grammy awards in both the Classical and Jazz categories. He soon became one of only two artists to have won the Grammy for five consecutive years. His recognition sprung up to such blinding heights so much so that the people of Spain even erected a monument in his name in the Vitoria-Gasteiz area of the country. His 1985 album Black Codes, the 1986 production J Mood and the 1987 compilation Marsalis Standard Time – Volume I all received a Grammy. His Jazz instrumental solos such as “Think of One” (1983), “Hot House Flowers” (1984) and “Black Codes” (1985) all received Grammy awards as well. Wynton Marsalis was invited to play the national anthem at the Super Bowl XX in 1986. In 1995, Marsalis successfully experimented with classical composition, producing a remarkable quartet work called “At the Octoroon Balls”. In 1996, Marsalis became an honorary member of Britain’s Royal Academy of Music, one of very few non-British nationals to have ever gotten the privilege. A year later, he became the first Jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his contribution, Blood on the Fields (1995).
A remarkable musician who has left an indelible mark on almost 30 countries of the world, Wynton Marsalis continued to win awards such as the NEA Jazz Masters Award as late as 2011. Two years earlier, he received the highest distinction in France, that of the insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.