Reference Entry

Marsala, Joe

Jack Sohmer

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Marsala, Joe (04 January 1907–03 March 1978), jazz clarinetist and saxophonist, was born Joseph Francis Marsala in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Pete Marsala, a valve-trombonist. His mother’s name is unknown. Starting on clarinet at age 15, Marsala was primarily self-taught, but in 1924 he started taking informal lessons from Johnny Lane, a local clarinetist and bandleader at the Friars Inn. Joe and his younger brother, Marty, a drummer and aspiring trumpet player, frequently stood outside nightclubs and dance halls to hear the hot jazz played within, but their own early playing seems to have been limited to the Jane Addams Hull House Band. It was at this time that Marsala first heard records by the great New Orleans clarinetists Leon Roppolo, ...

Reference Entry.  1713 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Woodwinds ; Blues ; Jazz

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