Shakespeare & All That Jazz w/ Delfeayo Marsalis

Music »

Marsalis to lead 'Shakespeare & All That Jazz'

Nov. 9 concert here culminates trombone star's 3-day residency here

Delfeayo Marsalis, the trombone-playing member of New Orleans' internationally famed Marsalis jazz family, will perform Wednesday night at the Neurosciences Institute Auditorium in La Jolla.

The all-ages 7:30 p.m. concert is a collaboration between the San Diego Shakespeare Society and Point Loma's First Friday Club. It will team Marsalis with members of the Correia Middle School Jazz Band, the Point Loma Nazarene University Jazz Band and Glen Fisher Con Alma, the four-man Latin-jazz band led by bassist and First Friday mastermind Fisher, one of the area's leading champions of jazz for young people.

Wednesday's performance will feature 10 of the movements from Marsalis' newly arranged version of "Such Sweet Thunder." An epic, 12-part suite that was written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, the original version debuted in 1957 and was inspired by (and based on) various Shakespearean characters and themes.

"About 35 of our students will be involved in the concert," said Marc Dwyer, Corriea's music director.

"We were contacted in September by the San Diego Shakespeare Society and they were looking for guidance on how to combine jazz and Shakespeare. Glen and I brainstormed and Glen recalled that Delfeayo had just released his version of 'Such Sweet Thunder.' So, we contacted him and he was very excited about coming here."

Marsalis' newest album, "Sweet Thunder," was released in January. As a student at the University of Louisville, he wrote his thesis on Ellington and Strayhorn. Wednesday's concert will feature revamped parts of the original Ellington/Strayhorn score and freshly written music by Marsalis. It will also include a Marsalis-penned dialogue -- to be read by Correia students -- that imagines a conversation between the trombonist and Shakespeare. The concert culminates Marsalis' three-day residency at Correia, which has had a jazz program for students since 2006.

Marsalis, 46, is the brother of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, saxophonist (and former "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" band leader Branford Marsalis and drummer Jason Marsalis. Their father, pianist Ellis Marsalis, is one of the nation's foremost jazz educators. The four siblings and their father this year were recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, the nation's most prestigious honor for jazz artists.

Like his brothers Wynton and Branford, Delfeayo Marsalis cut his teeth as a member of jazz drum icon Art Blakey's famed band, The Jazz Messengers. He went on to work with two other drum legends, Max Roach and Elvin Jones, as well as producing albums for his father and brothers and such luminaries as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Harry Connick, Jr.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that Corriea has brought a nationally prominent jazz artist to the school to teach, lecture and collaborate with its music students.

"Last year we had (trombonist) Bill Watrous, in 2009 we had (keyboardist) Rob Mullins and we started in 2008 with (trumpeter) Brian Lynch," said Corrieia music director Dwyer. "Our collaboration with Glen Fisher really enables us to do this, along with the great support we get, financially, from the parents and the community, and their desire to bring the best to our students."

by George Varga, Union Tribune, Night and Day