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The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis Delight Packed Audience

The renowned jazz musician demonstrated his undisputed genius

Posted: June 21, 2005 Related item: Wynton Marsalis appearing in Montevideo  

The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis packed a full house during their June 16 performance at the Cine Teatro Plaza in Montevideo. (U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi)
The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis packed a full house during their June 16 performance at the Cine Teatro Plaza in Montevideo. The members of the orchestra are: Sean Jones, Ryan Kisor, Marcus Printup, Ron Westray, Andre Hayward, Vincent R. Garner, Wess "Warmdaddy" Anderson, Ted Nash, Walter Blanding, Victor Goines, Joe Temperley, Aaron Goldberg, Carlos Henriquez, and Herlin Riley.
(Click here to enlarge photo)
Wynton Marsalis with his son Jasperg flanked by the Cultural Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy Montevideo, Linda Gonzalez (left) y and the president of the Centro Cultural de Música, Vera Heller(right). (U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi)
Wynton Marsalis with his son Jasperg flanked by the Cultural Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy Montevideo, Linda Gonzalez (left) y and the president of the Centro Cultural de Música, Vera Heller (right).
(Click here to enlarge photo)
Montevideo welcomed with great enthusiasm and anticipation the man who is possibly the most influencial jazz musician of recent times. Controversial and much talked about, but also loved. Wynton Marsalis, is a member of a family of great musicians - his father is Elis Marsalis and his brother is the equally renowned Branford Marsalis. Throughout his career, Wynton has demonstrated his undisputed genius and been a stalwart exponent of the jazz styles that remain true to the traditions rooted in the African-American experience and in the blues, as well as those jazz forms that emerged in the 1950's, such as the revolutionary "Be-Bop".

With the Lincoln Jazz Orchestra, Wynton evoked his preferences for the Big Band era as well as the best of the Swing era. To kick off the show, the Lincoln played classics from Tad Jones and Benny Carter (The selections were only announced just prior to being played.) The Orchestra is composed of 15 accomplished maestros, impeccable in their performance as well as in their presence and demeanor. Their repetoire was flawless and by the half way point of the first part of the show, the standing room only crowd that packed the Plaza was warmed up and into the spirit of the performance. It was interesting to note the dynamics of the group in which the leader was just one more musician, playing in the third row with the trumpets and with the drummer to his left. From that position Marsalis conducted the Orchestra, joining in with his musicians and interacting with the audience.

At the age of 16, Marsalis enrolled in the prestigious Julliard School of Music in Manhattan. In the same year, he joined legendary Jazz Messengers of the drummer Art Blakey. During his time with this group, Marsalis was able to completely immerse himself in the jazz experience. A tour in 1981 with de Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams in 1981 resulted in public recognition and critical acclaim, as well as the chance to make his first solo record, Wynton Marsalis (Columbia). From that time forward, its been a non-stop rise to the top: he has recorded close to 30 albums (including a number featuring classical music). He has broken new ground for jazz by winning the Grammy and other awards that usually do not consider jazz musicians for recognition.

A major objective for Wynton Marsalis is to win greater recognition for the legacy of the great innovators of jazz such Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. Marsalis himself is not particularly concerned with being an innovator. He has not been attracted to the latest developments in the current jazz scene. He simply prefers to ignore them and refuses to be drawn into a conversation about the latest jazz trends presently coming out of Europe. "They ask me if jazz rock is jazz. It is not jazz: it has elements of jazz but it is not jazz", said Marsalis. His attitude changes dramatically when the conversation shifts to Latin Jazz: "I love playing with Latinos, they remind me a lot of the musicians of New Orleans because they are so warm and have a real sense of brotherhood, of togetherness; they play with a lot of enthusiasm and fire." (from an interview with Xavier Quirate)

After the intermission, Wynton reminisced about the way his ancestors merged into jazz and the importance of the train for the development of jazz. He interpreted the actual meaning of "The Blue Train" as the expression of the true soulfulness for the jazz pioneers. During this part of the concert, Marsalis included themes from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn as well as other themes that evoked the sound and imagery of trains.

At the end of the show, during the first encore, Wynton, playing in a quartet, displayed his considerable talent as a trumpet soloist.

The program, the result of a major organizational effort by the Centro Cultural de Musica in conjunction with the American Embassy, CTI Mobil Phones and the Brazilian airline VARIG enabled Montevideo to enjoy one of the world's most interesting orchestras and its leader, the charismatic Wynton Marsalis.

Jorge Rocha / En Clave de Jazz

 

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