Ellis Marsalis Jr. was an American jazz pianist, educator, and patriarch of a musical family. He was born on November 14, 1934, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the father of Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis, all of whom are professional jazz musicians.
Marsalis began playing the piano at the age of six and was a self-taught musician. He attended Dillard University in New Orleans, where he studied music theory and composition. After graduating, he began performing in local clubs and eventually became a fixture in the New Orleans jazz scene.
Marsalis was a prolific composer and arranger, and he wrote music for television and film. He also taught music at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and the University of New Orleans. He was a mentor to many young jazz musicians, including his sons.
Marsalis was a recipient of numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award in 2011. He was also inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
Marsalis died on April 1, 2020, at the age of 85.
Marsalis was 5 feet 8 inches tall and had a net worth of $2 million. He was married to Dolores Ferdinand Marsalis and had six children.