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More than just a musical prodigy, Marsalis has long been a major player in music education and an active participant in the often heated debates over the future of jazz. His strong opinions and efforts to carve a place for jazz within the classical music establishment have made him a controversial figure in music and culture debates for the past many years.
Presenting a thorough and evenhanded look at Marsalis's life and career, Gourse discusses his childhood in New Orleans, his relationship with his musical father (Ellis Marsalis, a noted jazz and his interplay with his brothers, musicians Branford and Delfayo. The reader then follows him to New York and his training at Juilliard, from his first band work with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers to the media frenzy over his early Grammy-winning classical and jazz albums. Taking the story up to the present day, Course discusses the founding of the Lincoln Center Jazz Institute and the controversies surrounding Marsalis' stewardship of that institution.
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