Jazz at the Movies back with a film about Ellis Marsalis Jnr

A Jazz Icon’s Legacy Lives On

Our Jazz at the Movies (JAM) DJ’s bring another free screening of a film on jazz. Ellis: The Life and Complicated Times of Pianist, Ellis Marsalis Jnr will be screened at the Portland Conservatory of Music on Saturday, May 18th at 7.00pm

This is a story of jazz, a jazz musician, and a city known for its jazz. It is also a story of how one man transcended racial injustices he faced from his birth in the Jim Crow South to his death from COVID-19, living a life of art and education, helping to teach and support the next generation of jazz musicians.

Ellis Marsalis Jr., a name synonymous with jazz excellence, left an indelible mark on the world of music. Born into a segregated society, Ellis defied the odds to become a pioneering figure in jazz, not only as a performer but also as an educator and mentor. His journey, filled with triumphs and challenges, embodies the spirit of resilience and creativity that defines the genre he loved so dearly.

For years, Ellis labored tirelessly, honing his craft and sharing his passion for jazz with anyone willing to listen. Despite facing numerous obstacles, he remained steadfast in his pursuit of excellence, never allowing societal barriers to deter his ambitions. His dedication and perseverance laid the foundation for a remarkable career that would inspire countless aspiring musicians.

Perhaps Ellis’ most enduring legacy lies in his role as an educator. Through his teaching, he imparted not only musical knowledge but also valuable life lessons to his students. From Grammy winners like Jon Batiste to renowned performers like Harry Connick Jr., Ellis influenced a generation of artists, instilling in them a deep appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of jazz.

Ellis MarsalisMoreover, Ellis played a pivotal role in reshaping the landscape of modern music. His compositions, infused with the soulful rhythms of New Orleans, captivated audiences around the world, earning him widespread acclaim and recognition. In a time marked by racial injustices and a Eurocentric value system, Ellis dared to defy conventions, forging his own path and setting new standards of excellence in the world of jazz.

Tragically, Ellis’ journey came to an untimely end in April 2020, when he succumbed to complications related to COVID-19. Yet, his legacy lives on, immortalized in the timeless melodies and profound teachings he left behind. As we reflect on his life and contributions, we are reminded of the power of music to transcend boundaries and unite people from all walks of life.

In commemorating Ellis Marsalis Jr., we pay tribute to a true icon of jazz—a man whose passion, talent, and unwavering commitment to his craft continue to inspire generations of musicians. His story serves as a testament to the transformative power of music and the enduring legacy of those who dare to dream and defy the odds.