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For alto saxophone, vibraphone and piano

Composition Date: 2020



A tribute to pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. (November 14, 1934 – April 1, 2020)

Programme Note:


a tribute to pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr.

(November 14, 1934 – April 1, 2020)

alto saxophone



I was very glad to have the opportunity to contribute to the Sound World scheme to support performers, offering a chance to work on and record new pieces, and thereby providing a focus both for the composers and the players.

This is a desperately worrying time for performing musicians, so such a creative initiative is very welcome.

I was allocated the line-up of saxophone, percussion and piano just after hearing that my friend Branford Marsalis’ father, Ellis Marsalis Jr., had died of Covid 19. This was a great shock, and a tragic loss of an outstanding musician and educator – a man who created unprecedented opportunities for young musicians in New Orleans and beyond, and who was an inspiration to all who knew him. His legacy lives on in his sons, in the countless musicians he influenced, and in the music centre named in his honour in New Orleans.

April is a chaconne; built on a short sequence of chords which is repeated throughout the piece, with added improvisatory music from piano, vibraphone and saxophone in turn. In the original version all this is notated, but it could also be performed as a jazz improvisation, and extended into a longer piece.

Sally Beamish 2020


Available Recordings:

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