Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet
September 29, 2010
By age six, not only had Jason gotten his first real drum set, but he was also taking lessons from the legendary New Orleans drummer James Black. At age seven he was sitting in with his father’s jazz group, as well as playing with his trombonist brother Delfeayo. Jason was progressing so rapidly as a drummer that in 1984 his father started using him consistently on engagements.
Jason was starting to become a seasoned road veteran before the age of nine, even traveling to the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston for Delfeayo’s senior recital.
Though Jason had also taken up violin at age five, drums remained his primary focus throughout his grade school years. In 1991, he auditioned and was accepted to the acclaimed New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts High School (NOCCA). Throughout his high school years he continued to hone his skills by playing gigs with his father and brothers, as well as studying orchestral percussion techniques at
the venerable Eastern Music Festival.
Shortly after graduation from NOCCA in 1995, Marsalis ascended to the drum throne of a new group lead by virtuoso pianist and former sideman for Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Roberts. Despite a demanding touring schedule with Roberts, Marsalis furthered his educational goals by attending Loyola University
in New Orleans, as well as studying composition with Roger Dickerson at Southern University.
While Marsalis has worked with such international jazz luminaries as Joe Henderson and Lionel Hampton, he remains visible on the New Orleans scene as well, working with a diverse cross section of bands from Casa Samba (Brazilian) to Neslort (jazz fusion). He is also a co-founder of the Latin jazz
group Los Hombres Calientes.
In addition, he regularly hosts a local jazz jam where he plays vibraphone.
The sense of style and tastefulness that Marsalis exhibits in his playing explains why he is a highly sought after musician. This style has been well documented on recordings with artists such as the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Marcus Printup and Marcus Roberts to name but a few. He has also produced two albums under his own name, Year of the Drummer (1998) and Music in Motion (2000),
as well as producing a reissue of his father’s earlier recorded work, Syndrome (1996).
In addition, Marsalis is a respected clinician and an endorser of Mapex drums and Zildjian cymbals. With each passing year Jason Marsalis continues to grow and develop as both a composer and performer. With a fire in his heart and a passion for the music, his will to swing has never been more resolute. The maturity of this young lion and the command he possesses over his instrument is clearly evident to those who have heard or seen him.