Marcus Roberts on Tavis Smiley, Jan. 23, 2015

Photo of Marcus Roberts performing on the Tavis Smiley Show
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Marcus Roberts lost his eyesight at the age of five. A few years later, he began to teach himself to play piano, and hasn’t slowed down since. He ultimately went on to study classical piano at Florida State University, and at age twenty-one, started touring with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who would later call Roberts is the “greatest American musician most people have never heard of.” In 1988, Roberts signed his first recording contract with BMG/Novus, and went on to sign with Columbia Records in 1994. His music has been praised by critics over the entirety of his career, and several of his recordings have hit No. 1 on the Billboard traditional jazz chart. He is a dedicated teacher, and devotes his time to training and developing younger musicians. Roberts’ latest project, titled “Romance, Swing, and the Blues,” is a double-LP containing all original material, and recorded with a brand new band, The Modern Jazz Generation. (

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