Delfeayo Marsalis to bring New Orleans party to Toledo, debut bookWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
“Laissez les bons temps rouler!” If your French is fuzzy, that’s “Let the good times roll!”
Delfeayo Marsalis will bring some N’awlins music and good times when he slides into Toledo on Aug. 28.
“It’ll be an all-star lineup of guys, and we’re going to party like it’s Mardi,” the trombonist said and laughed. “When we come to town, we’re going to be playing Mardi Gras, so it’ll be more of a New Orleans celebration, the party music.”
The jazzman will hold court with saxophonist and clarinetist Victor Goines, trumpeter Marquis Hill, sax player Lauren Sevian, bassist Eric Wheeler, pianist Richard D. Johnson and drummer Winard Harper.
“I love playing the New Orleans music,” Marsalis said during a call from his home in the Crescent City. “We like to change it up, incorporate as many styles as we can.”
“Fat Wednesday” will take place at the Best Western Premier Grand Plaza Hotel, 444 N. Summit St. Tickets for the concert and tasting buffet are $55 for Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Society members and $65 for nonmembers; tickets for an after party that will include champagne are $75 for members and $85.
The evening will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a tasting buffet of dishes from the Big Easy. On the menu: gumbo, jambalaya and bread pudding with red beans and rice served up using Louis Armstrong’s recipe, according to Kay Elliott, executive director of the Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Society, who organized the event.
Marsalis hails from New Orleans and that storied music family.
“When I think of that period of growing up and that early development, it’s less about music and more about education and creativity because my mother [Dolores] is a very creative person,” he said. “She encouraged us to be creative in our own way.”
The noted musician will discuss creativity Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Toledo Museum of Art Great Gallery.
“I think I will end up talking about working with kids,” Marsalis said of the free event.
Ever the improviser, he came up with the name of the talk during the interview: “Oh, I know, the title will be: ‘Be Creative, It’s Cool Like Jazz.’”
He’ll also share his latest project when he visits the Glass City: a children’s book titled “No Cell Phone Day.”
His 12-year-old daughter, Jazmine, inspired the work.
“We had our no cellphone day when she was probably 7 or 8. And after deciding we’d have a day with no technology, we just went and hung out at the park,” he said. “We came up with a fun day, and she really enjoyed it and told all her friends she was excited we had a no ‘cellophone’ day, as she would say back then.”
He’ll read the new book Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. at the Toledo-Lucas County Main Library and at 2 p.m. in the Great Gallery.
“I would say [the book is for] probably second grade and up. It can still be enjoyed by kindergarten and first grade for the pictures because the illustrations [by Reginald Butler] are so marvelous,” Marsalis said. “I wanted it to be a family book, something that everyone could enjoy at least one aspect or more of it.”
“No Cell Phone Day” is dedicated to Marsalis’ younger brother, Mboya, who has autism.
“This was the early days of autism; this was before they knew what it was,” Marsalis recalled of when his brother was growing up. “Knowing early on that [Mboya] would have difficulty with communication and with learning to a certain extent inspired me to really work with kids and to try to help.
“I think I have an extraordinary amount of patience having grown up in a household with Mboya, and I’ve dedicated the book to him.”
Marsalis has another creative endeavor: “The Last Southern Gentleman” will be out in October.
“[The disc] features myself with my dad [pianist Ellis Marsalis], [bassist] John Clayton and [drummer] Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith, and it’s my first quartet. I’m the only horn,” he said.
“We pay tribute to the great men of the South. There’s a jazz sound that’s from the South that is unique, and it has to do, in my opinion, with what we consider Southern hospitality and Southern manners and the idea of the actual Southern gentleman.
“And many of the early great jazz men, that’s who they were: Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong and ‘King’ Oliver and Johnny Dodds — if you read about these guys and learn about them, they just had that sensibility about them in that Southern gentility, and we’re paying tribute to that.”
In 2011, Ellis Marsalis and his sons who pursued music — trumpeter Wynton, saxophonist Branford, drummer Jason and Delfeayo — received the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.
“[The honor] was mostly for my dad and the great work that he’s done as an educator, as a performer, and that he would contribute to having four sons who love the music and are doing everything they can to spread the word.”