Last updated: August 25. 2013 4:18AM - 47 Views

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ADA — If you don’t know who Ellis Marsalis is, you should. The jazz pianist and educator, who will perform Tuesday with the Ohio Northern University Jazz Ensemble, is a jazz patriarch and influential artist in his own right, said ONU visiting assistant professor of music and jazz instructor Dave Kosmyna.“We thought it was a terrific opportunity to work with and hear one of the actual true patriarchs of jazz,” he said. “Both he and his children are doing this kind of thing on a wonderfully high level, and they have seriously contributed to the world of music.”Marsalis, who is the father of musicians Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis, has been a staple in the New Orleans jazz scene for years. First a tenor saxophonist, Marsalis switched to piano early in life. He has played with everyone from modernist Ed Blackwell to Ned Adder to Al Hirt.Marsalis is also known for his jazz instruction skills at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and other New Orleans institutions. His famous pupils include Harry Connick Jr., Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton and others.“From what I hear, he’s very willing to work with students and talk with students,” Kosmyna said. “His sons are like that as well. They are generous with their time.”The concert will include several segments, Kosmyna said. The ONU ensemble will get the ball rolling with original tunes, followed by a jam session with Marsalis sitting in with students. The final portion of the program, however, will be Marsalis and his band.With Marsalis’ star power and some “good toe-tapping” tunes by the ensemble, Kosmyna said the concert is a hot commodity, with tickets moving fast.“Everybody is excited to have him here, and the students are stoked,” he said. “I guess it will sell out pretty quickly.”

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