Wynton Marsalis has compiled a remarkable track record as a classical and jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, making him one of the most-recognized artists in the world today. Marsalis serves as Artistic Director for the internationally-recognized Jazz at Lincoln Center, and is a renowned as a jazz statesman--a role officially recognized in 2001 when United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan proclaimed him an international ambassador of goodwill and appointed him a UN Messenger of Peace.
Born October 18, 1961 in New Orleans, the second of six sons of Dolores and Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis began studying trumpet seriously at age 12. During high school, he performed in local marching bands, jam bands, funk bands, and classical orchestras, and at age 18 he moved to New York to attend the Juilliard School. In the summer of 1980, he became a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and that same year was signed to his first record deal by music industry veteran Bruce Lundvall.