Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis (55) has dedicated his life to music, theatre and education. At the age of 17, he began his career as a producer and has to date produced over 120 recordings garnering one Grammy award and several nominations. Marsalis has played trombone in bands led by legendary musicians Ray Charles, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Slide Hampton, as well as leading his own groups. In 2008, he formed the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, a highly entertaining ensemble that focuses on maintaining important jazz traditions such as riff playing, New Orleans polyphony and spontaneous arrangements.
In 2000, Marsalis formed the Uptown Music Theatre, a non-profit organization that empowers youth through musical theatre training. He has written sixteen musicals to date including informational works on Harriet Tubman, Althea Gibson, Duke Ellington, and the Harlem Renaissance as part of an American Legacy Series! In addition, Marsalis has composed over 100 songs that help introduce kids to jazz through musical theatre and has reached over 5,000 students nationally with his Swinging with the Cool School soft introduction to jazz workshops. In 2014, his Kidstown After School program was implemented in three New Orleans elementary schools.
Marsalis has a dual degree in music performance and production from Berklee College of Music, a masters in jazz performance from the University of Louisville and was conferred a doctorate from the New England College. In 2011, he was named an NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor given to a jazz musician in America. In New Orleans, Marsalis has won Best of the Beat Awards for Best Trombonist (2009), Best Contemporary Jazz Artist (2017) and Best Contemporary Jazz recording (Make America Great Again! 2017). Marsalis is the recipient of a 3M Visionary Award and the 2020 Berklee Alumni Achievement Award.
Marsalis’ latest non-profit endeavor, Keep New Orleans Music Alive (KNOMA) was founded in 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic for the purpose of providing emergency relief to native New Orleans culture bearers.