|Birth Day:||October 18, 1961|
|Birth Place:||New Orleans, United States|
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He graduated with a 3.98 GPA from Benjamin Franklin High School and became the youngest musician to enter Tanglewood's Berkshire Music Center.
Marsalis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 18, 1961 and grew up in the suburb of Kenner. He is the second of six sons born to Dolores Ferdinand Marsalis and Ellis Marsalis Jr., a pianist and music teacher. He was named for jazz pianist Wynton Kelly. Branford Marsalis is his older brother and Jason Marsalis and Delfeayo Marsalis are younger. All three are jazz musicians. While sitting at a table with trumpeters Al Hirt, Miles Davis, and Clark Terry, his father jokingly suggested that he might as well get Wynton a trumpet, too. Hirt volunteered to give him one, so at the age of six Marsalis received his first trumpet.
In 1979, he moved to New York City to attend Juilliard. He intended to pursue a career in classical music. In 1980 he toured Europe as a member of the Art Blakey big band, becoming a member of The Jazz Messengers and remaining with Blakey until 1982. He changed his mind about his career and turned to jazz. He has said that years of playing with Blakey influenced his decision. He recorded for the first time with Blakey and one year later he went on tour with Herbie Hancock. After signing a contract with Columbia, he recorded his first solo album. In 1982 he established a quintet with his brother Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Charnett Moffett, and Jeff "Tain" Watts. When Branford and Kenny Kirkland left three years later to record and tour with Sting, Marsalis formed another quartet, this time with Marcus Roberts on piano, Robert Hurst on double bass, and Watts on drums. After a while the band expanded to include Wessell Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Reed, Herlin Riley, Reginald Veal, and Todd Williams.
After his first album came out in 1982, Marsalis won polls in DownBeat magazine for Musician of the Year, Best Trumpeter, and Album of the Year. In 2017 he was one of the youngest members to be inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame.
In 1983, at the age of 22, he became the only musician to win Grammy Awards in jazz and classical music during the same year. At the award ceremonies the next year, he won again in both categories.
In 1986, Marsalis guest starred in an episode of Sesame Street.
In 1987, Marsalis helped start the Classical Jazz summer concert series at Lincoln Center in New York City. The success of the series led to Jazz at Lincoln Center becoming a department at Lincoln Center, then to becoming an independent entity in 1996 with organizations such as the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera. Marsalis became artistic director of the Center and the musical director of the band, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The orchestra performs at its home venue, Rose Hall, goes on tour, visits schools, appears on radio and television, and produces albums through its label, Blue Engine Records.
In 1995, he hosted the educational program Marsalis on Music on public television, while during the same year National Public Radio broadcast his series Making the Music. Both programs won the George Foster Peabody Award, the highest award given in journalism.
He won the Dutch Edison Award and the French Grand Prix du Disque. The Mayor of Vitoria, Spain, gave him the city's Gold Medal, its most coveted distinction. In 1996, Britain's senior conservatoire, the Royal Academy of Music, made him an honorary member, the Academy's highest decoration for a non-British citizen. The city of Marciac, France, erected a bronze statue in his honor for the key role he played in the story of the festival. The French Ministry of Culture gave him the rank of Knight in the Order of Arts and Literature. In 2008 he received France's highest distinction, the insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
Jazz critic Scott Yanow regards Marsalis as talented but criticizes his "selective knowledge of jazz history" and has said Marsalis considers "post-1965 avant-garde playing to be outside of jazz and 1970s fusion to be barren" and the unfortunate result of the "somewhat eccentric beliefs of Stanley Crouch". In The New York Times in 1997, pianist Keith Jarrett said Marsalis "imitates other people's styles too well...His music sounds like a high school trumpet player to me".
In 1997, he became the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields. In a note to him, Zarin Mehta wrote, "I was not surprised at your winning the Pulitzer Prize for Blood on the Fields. It is a broad, beautifully painted canvas that impresses and inspires. It speaks to us all...I'm sure that, somewhere in the firmament, Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong and legions of others are smiling down on you."
In 2011, Marsalis and rock guitarist Eric Clapton performed together in a Jazz at Lincoln Center concert. The concert was recorded and released as the album Play the Blues: Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center.
In December 2011, Marsalis was named cultural correspondent for CBS This Morning. He is a member of the CuriosityStream Advisory Board. He serves as director of the Juilliard Jazz Studies program. In 2015, Cornell University appointed him A.D. White Professor-at-Large.
Currently, Wynton Marsalis is 60 years, 0 months and 3 days old. Wynton Marsalis will celebrate 61st birthday on a Tuesday 18th of October 2022.
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