Synopsis"Who taught you how to play like that," Wynton and Branford Marsalis' fans would ask. And the two brothers would always give the same answer: "My dad."
The Marsalis music family from New Orleans has been a cultural force since Wynton and Branford reached sudden stardom in New York and made "Marsalis" a household name, but far too little is known about the patriarch, pianist Ellis Marsalis, who paved their way.
ELLIS chronicles the life of this exceptional composer, performer, and educator, the profound influence that the city had on him -- and that he had on the jazz that came out of New Orleans. It is also a story of how one man transcended racial injustices he faced from his birth during segregation to his death from COVID 19.
Made with the full cooperation of Ellis and his family, ELLIS is told in the word and music of Ellis Marsalis Jr.
Interlaced with verité scenes that place Ellis in his city and with interviews with his colleagues and sons, archival footage and photos take us from segregated New Orleans to California of the fifties where Ellis served in the Marines, to New York of the seventies where he toured, and to his final concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center and a solo concert performed exclusively for the film.