Born in October 18, 1961, in New Orleans, Wynton Marsalis began studying trumpet seriously at age twelve. During high school he performed in local marching bands, jazz bands, funk bands, and classical orchestras, and at age eighteen he moved to New York to attend the Juilliard School of Music. In the summer of 1980, he became a member of Ark Blakey's Jazz Messengers and that same year signed with Columbia Records. Since his self-titled debut was released in 1982, Marsalis' numerous jazz and classical recordings for Columbia and Sony Classical have sold over five million copies world wide and he is the recipient of eight Grammy awards. He has taken his jazz groups to thirty countries on six continents, averaging more than 120 concerts per year for many of the past twenty years.