Here is an exclusive clip from Ellis, a new documentary on the life and times of pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr., directed by Sascha Just, and premiering at DOC NYC on November 10, 2022.
Ellis Marsalis was a towering figure in the history of jazz. He composed and performed major works of modern jazz infused with a uniquely New Orleans touch.
Along with his own uber-talented children Wynton and Branford Marsalis, he mentored a “who’s who” of jazz from multiple Grammy winner Jon Batiste to Harry Connick Jr., to hundreds of students who passed through his classes.
Ellis lived through the Jim Crow era in New Orleans. With his music and his teaching, he defied the strictures of this rigidly segregated society and reframed jazz as a powerful tool in moving beyond racist oppression. He continually defined his own standards of excellence and instilled in Black students a deep understanding of their own cultural history–a civil rights act in itself! As we are losing a generation that took its lived experience of racism and turned it into music that broke all boundaries, Ellis’ story of a life lived with self-determination offers a path to confronting racial injustice through art today.
Watch an exclusive clip from Ellis.