Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
An excellent swing clarinetist who could fit into Dixieland settings yet welcomed Dizzy Gillespie to a memorable session in 1945, Joe Marsala was the older brother of trumpeter Marty Marsala (1909-1975) and the husband of the great jazz harpist Adele Girard (1913-1993). He freelanced around Chicago starting in the late '20s, including with Wingy Manone and Ben Pollack. He recorded with Manone in the mid-'30s, playing with Wingy on 52nd Street during 1935-1936. Marsala soon became a leader himself and during the next ten years (much of which was spent playing at the Hickory House), he featured such side players as Adele Girard, Buddy Rich (his first important job), Red Allen, Eddie Condon, Joe Bushkin, Dave Tough, Shelly Manne, Max Kaminsky, and his brother, Marty, among others. He retired from full-time playing in 1948, working instead in music publishing. However, Joe Marsala continued playing on an occasional basis into the 1960s. His studio recordings from 1936-1942 are all collected on a Classics CD. Other sessions have been released on IAJRC, Aircheck, Jazzology, Savoy, Black & White, Musicraft, and a 1957 album for Stereo-Craft.