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Irvin Mayfield and Ellis Marsalis
"Love Songs, Ballads and Standards"
(Basin Street Records)

Reviews and Info

Following Reviews Courtesy of

Fantastic album from one of the best Jazz artists!, May 20, 2008 
By H. Dayeh (New Orleans, LA)

To the reviewer who criminally gave this album just one star, you don't have to like this album. But, before you comment on the music, at least get to know it. Ellis Marsalis plays PIANO! You might have heard of his sons, Wynton (the legendary trumpeter) and Branford (the celebrated saxophone player). The trumpet playing is courtesy of Irvin Mayfield, who is not only arguably the best living trumpet player but is also the cultural ambassador to the city of New Orleans. For those interested in buying this album, do not let that last silly review discourage you. I'm from New Orleans, so I'm very familiar with these musicians. This is a fantastic album and a creative take on some classic music. The "off key" notes to which the previous reviewer refers is a little creative thing called Jazz. What more can I say? If you want to hear two master Jazz musicians at work, buy this album. On the other hand, if you want elevator music, buy elevator music. Maybe Kenny G. is more up your alley. 

Ballads for the soul, May 21, 2008 
By Bart (Chandler, AZ) 

Just finished listening to this beautiful, artistic CD for 10th time, and only received it yesterday. Each time is gets better and I loved it the first time! I have followed Irvin's illustrious career for the past 10 years and know that Irvin Mayfield has done more to keep New Orleans music fresh and alive than anyone in that historic town. This tribute to his deceased father who perished in Katrina is a classic that will live for years. And who better than to share in the tribute than the retired NOCCA director, Ellis Marsalis, one of Irvin's mentors and certainly a legend in his own right. Thanks, Basin Street Records, for believing in Irvin and bringing this treasure to the public.

Absolutely Gorgeous!, May 21, 2008 
By NewOrleansMusicLover (New Orleans)

Sit back and enjoy this absolutely gorgeous CD led by two of New Orleans' greatest musicians. The CD includes tracks with strings (the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra) and the rhythm section is stellar.

About Ellis Marsalis

Ellis Marsalis is regarded by many as the premier modern jazz pianist in New Orleans. Born on November 14, 1934, he began formal music studies at the Xavier University junior school of music at age eleven. After high school Marsalis enrolled in Dillard University (New Orleans) as a clarinet major. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education in 1955. Marsalis spent the next year working as an assistant manager in his fathers motel business.

The following year Marsalis then joined the U.S. Marine Corps and while stationed in southern California began honing his skills as a pianist on a television show entitled "Dress Blues" and a radio show called "Leatherneck Songbook". Both shows were sponsored by the Marine Corps. After completing a stint in the Marine Corps Marsalis returned to New Orleans and married Dolores Ferdinand, a New Orleanian, who bore him six sons; Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, Miboya and Jason.

In 1964 Marsalis moved his wife and family of, at at time, four sons to the small rural Louisiana town of Breux Bridge where he became a school band and choral director at Carver high school for two years. Returning to New Orleans he began to freelance once again on the local music scene. Between 1966 and 1974 Marsalis would perform at the Playboy Club (New Orleans), in the Al Hirt night club, Lu and Charles night club and enter the teaching profession again as an adjunct professor at Xavier University (New Orleans).

While the family continued to grow Marsalis decided to return to school in the early summer session of 1974 working towards a Masters Degree at Loyola University (New Orleans). Marsalis would also interview for a teaching position at a new Magnet school for the arts. his interview was successful and he was hired in the Fall semester at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts(1974) high school. He would spend the next twelve years at NOCCA as an instrumental music teacher with a Jazz studies emphasis.

In 1986 Marsalis accepted the position of Commonwealth Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. He would spend two of the three years as coordinator of Jazz Studies before returning to New Orleans and the University of New Orleans to become the first occupant of the Coca Cola endowed chair of Jazz Studies as the director.

Marsalis has been the recipient of Honorary Doctorate degrees from his alma mater Dillard University, (1989) and Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana(1997).

Marsalis has been a guest on several network television shows. He has appeared on NBC's "TODAY" with host Bryant Gumbel; the "TONITE" show with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno as hosts; the Arsenio Hall show with pianist Marcus Roberts; The Charlie Rose show; Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood; ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA with Spencer Christian and several local and regional television shows. In 1984 Marsalis and New Orleans singer/actress Joanne "Lady BJ" Creighton shared honors at the Ace Awards ceremony for the best single music program on cable television. Marsalis continues to be active as a performing pianist leading his own group and has several recordings on the CBS-SONY label. He is currently developing his own recording label, ELM RECORDS, with his wife Dolores and son Jason.

On August 10, 2001 Marsalis officially retired from the University of New Orleans after twelve years as the first occupant of the Coca Cola Jazz Chair and the Director of the Jazz Studies Division.

About Irvin Mayfield

At only 30 years old, Irvin Mayfield has quickly established himself as one of the most decorated and recorded Jazz musicians of his generation. Mayfield is a versatile trumpeter, bandleader, composer and arranger, recording artist, a passionate spokesman for the rich history and cultural significance of Jazz and the city that birthed it. Appointed the Cultural Ambassador of the City of New Orleans in 2003 by the United States Senate, Congress and other governmental agencies, his name has become synonymous with the still-unfolding legacy of America's only indigenous music

Even after Katrina - especially after Katrina, which took the life of his father, Irvin Mayfield, Sr. this tireless Renaissance man considers Jazz nothing less than the manifestation of all that American democracy represents. Within the freedom so intrinsic to Jazz, Mayfield sees the story of America. In its myriad rhythms and personalities, he finds the oversized soul of New Orleans. He is the recipient of the Elysian Trumpet, hand-crafted for him by David Monette in honor of his father, who was found after the storm on Elysian Fields Avenue, and all those who lost their lives in the storm. Inlayed with jewels and images of New Orleans and of the Hurricane itself, the priceless instrument has been blessed by representatives of three of the world' s religions, including the Archbishop of Canterbury during his historic visit to New Orleans last September.

Most recently, during the North American Summit in New Orleans President George W. Bush declared the trumpet a "Cultural Treasure".

Mayfield is a highly successful recording artist. On April 1st, 2008, Mayfield released his 11th album Love Songs, Ballads and Standards, with Ellis Marsalis on Basin Street Records. The album was the first release on the label since Hurricane Katrina. It is a release of instrumental interpretations that distills the essence of the Great American Songbook with great passion, including time-tested classics like "Yesterday" (the Beatles) and contemporary gems like "Don't Know Why" (Norah Jones).

In 2002, Mayfield founded the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc., the only major Jazz performance institution of its kind in the city. "Today he serves as artistic director of the non profit institution, which tours a professional big band internationally and provides other jazz centered experiences."

In January 2003, he founded the Institute of Jazz Culture at Dillard University. That same year, Mayfield was unanimously appointed to the post of Cultural Ambassador for the City of New Orleans by city officials. Since then, he has served as a musician who not only embodies and represents the great New Orleans Jazz legacy, but also as a cultural spokesperson for New Orleans.

Mayfield, whose extensive discography stretches back nearly a decade, is rooted firmly in the present, but he has benefited enormously from studying that which comes before him. He has absorbed the music of the giants; particularly the trumpeters who have helped define the course of Jazz over the decades and set Irvin on his own journey of exploration: Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown and Dizzy Gillespie. He considers Wynton Marsalis another promoter of the great heritage of New Orleans a mentor. Mayfield's relationship with the Marsalis family goes back many years.

In October 2003, Mayfield debuted Strange Fruit, featuring the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the Dillard University Concert Choir. Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra made history on November 17, 2005 when they symbolically reopened New Orleans with the performance of a historic piece composed by Mayfield titled All the Saints At Christ Church Cathedral. This commission was the first of its kind by an Episcopal diocese, and it served New Orleans as the first major cultural event inside the city post-Katrina.

Mayfield's numerous collaborative ventures have made him a sought- after composer for special events, such as the New Orleans Museum of Art's commissioned musical tribute (Mayfield's first-ever commission) to renowned African American artist Gordon Parks. This piece, The Half-Past Autumn Suite was later recorded with Parks, Wynton Marsalis and the Irvin Mayfield Quintet, and released by Basin Street Records. Additionally he co-founded the New Orleans-flavored Latin Jazz band Los Hombres Calientes. He also leads his own band, the Irvin Mayfield Quintet.

He has also appeared on or produced dozens of other records including Strange Fruit with NOJO and the Dillard University Choir and Volume 5: Carnival, a Los Hombres Calientes recording. Their previous album, Volume 4: Voodoo Dance (2003), was nominated for a Billboard Latin Music Award. Volume Three: New Congo Square (2001) was nominated for a Grammy. In 2000, Volume One was awarded Billboard's Latin Music Award for "Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year." Outside of Basin Street Records, Mayfield has two other releases on the Half Note label. In 2005, he recorded "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" on Higher Ground/Blue Note Records, for the Musician's Relief Fund, which was performed for President George W. Bush during Black Music Month. 

Mayfield has remained steadfast in his effort to bring New Orleans culture back to its feet. He participated as advisory member to Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu's Louisiana Cultural Rebirth Committee, and as committee member to Mayor C. Ray Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back culture sub-committee. Mayfield also took up a new post as the artist- in-residence at Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans immediately upon returning to New Orleans. Currently, Mayfield serves as a board member to the following New Orleans organizations:

*New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
*New Orleans Arts Council
*Police and Justice Foundation
*New Orleans Public Library Foundation
*Vice Chairman for First Responders Fund
*The Louisiana State University Health Science
*Department of Psychiatry
*Artist in Residence at the University of New Orleans
*City appointed Chairman of the Board for the New Orleans Public Library

Irvin Mayfield Discography

New Orleans Jazz Orchestra's debut on Harmonica Mundi is scheduled for Sept. 08.

Love Songs, Ballads & Standards: Irvin Mayfield and Ellis Marsalis. Basin Street Records, 2008
Higher Ground: Irvin Mayfield performs on compilation benefit CD. Blue Note Records, 2005
Strange Fruit: Irvin Mayfield, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the Dillard University Choir. Basin Street Records, 2005
Carnival: Volume 5: Los Hombres Calientes. Basin Street Records, 2005
Volume Four: Vodou Dance: Los Hombres Calientes. Basin Street Records, 2003
Half Past Autumn Suite: Irvin Mayfield Quintet. Basin Street Records, 2003
How Passion Falls: Irvin Mayfield Quintet. Basin Street Records, 2001
Volume Three: New Congo Square: Los Hombres Calientes. Basin Street Records, 2001
Jazz Sawyer/Irvin Mayfield 20/20: Live at the Blue Note: Irvin Mayfield. Half Note Label, 2000
The Irvin Mayfield Sextet: Live at the Blue Note: Mayfield Sextet. Half Note Label, 1999
Irvin Mayfield: Irvin Mayfield Quintet. Basin Street Records, 1999
Los Hombres Calientes: Los Hombres Calientes. Basin Street Records, 1998

Ellis Marsalis - A Jazz Celebration

Irvin Mayfield in Minneapolis at the Dakota with a hot sextet including trumpeter/vocalist Leon "Chocolate" Brown, trombonist Vince Gardner, pianist Dave Torkanowsky, bassist Carlos Henriquez, and drummer Jaz Sawyer. March 26, 2008.