Ellis Marsalis on disadvantaged students
NOW, A JAZZ MOMENT...
MUSIC: Round Midnight
Ellis Marsalis: It was always hard for me to kind of celebrate my own kids, cause I could still see all them kids who were in situations where they were bein' failed by adults who was drawin' pay checks.
NEA JAZZ MASTER ELLIS MARSALIS IS FATHER TO FOUR HIGHLY TALENTED JAZZ MUSICIANS ? BRANFORD, WYNTON, DELFEAYO AND JASON MARSALIS. BUT ELLIS NEVER REVELED IN THEIR SUCCESSES AS THEY BEGAN TO EMERGE ONTO THE NATIONAL SCENE. HE WAS TOO DISTRACTED TRYING TO HELP THE MANY STUDENTS HE ENCOUNTERED WHILE TEACHING AT THE NEW ORLEANS CENTER FOR CREATIVE ARTS ? STUDENTS WHO HAD THE DECKS STACKED AGAINST THEM IN A WAY THAT HIS SONS DID NOT...
Ellis Marsalis: Like I had one student, who had gone from first grade on. And I used to ask my students to write a paper on a musician. This one kid, I couldn't even grade it. I mean he didn't hardly know how to string sentences together. Now, I'm gonna tell you what kind of kid he was. By the time he was third year high school, he already understood third species counterpoint cause the teacher was teaching that at NOCCA. Also, as a trombone player, he understood and could explain the partials on the trombone based upon Pythagoras' theory of ratios. And he couldn't even string together a decent sentence. And when confronted with that he said, "Man nobody ever asked me to write anything all the years that I been in school." And you run in to that all the time.
MUSIC: up for punctuation, then fades under and out
THIS JAZZ MOMENT WITH PIANIST ELLIS MARSALIS WAS CREATED BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS. I'M CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE.