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  • Two Men With The Blues DVD to be released on October 28

    Posted on October 1st, 2008 | 0

    On October 28, 2008, Eagle Eye Media will release “Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center New York City” on DVD by Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson. (pre book date October 8, retail sales price $14.98).
    Tracks are inter cut with interviews of both men where they expound articulately about the material and the presentation. Following you can also give a look to the DVD trailer…

    The trailer is available as download.

    Track Listing:
    1. Rainy Day Blues
    2. George On My Mind
    3. Bright Lights Big City
    4. Basin Street Blues
    5. Caldonia
    6. Night Life
    7. Stardust
    8. My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It
    9. Ain’t Nobody’s Business
    10. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
    11. Sweet Georgia Brown
    12. That’s All
    13. Down By The Riverside

  • Wynton’s new composition for Michigan reviewed

    Posted on September 30th, 2008 | 0

    Last week, in East Lansing and Detroit (MI), Wynton premiered his new composition: “Two in Three”, commissioned by Michigan State University College of Music and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra . The concerts were reviewed by Detroit Free Press and by East Lansing City Pulse. Check the setlist for the JLCO fall tour 2008 for more info about the tunes they played.
    Following, you can enjoy some pictures of Wynton’s master class in East Lansing at MSU…

    Wynton with Rodney Whitaker at MSU (photo: Max Colley III)

  • Video: Ahmad Jamal performing with Wynton at JALC

    Posted on September 26th, 2008 | 0

    On September 18-20, 2008, Jazz at Lincoln Center opened its 2008-09 season, with master of jazz piano, Ahmad Jamal, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis performing in Rose Theater. The concert was reviewed by Variety.com, All About Jazz and PopMatters.
    Following you can give a look to a video clip from one of the evening…

    Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
    9/20/08 From Rose Theater, NY, NY
    Featuring Ahmad Jamal

  • Marciac 2008 Video: The Septet plays Reflections and Happy Bir…

    Posted on September 19th, 2008 | 0

    On August 6-7, 2008, Wynton was rehearsing with his Septet for the August 8, 2008, concert in Marciac (France). The first two video-clips we publish today, will take you behind the scenes, during the rehearsals, to appreciate the musicians rehearsing the beautiful music of Thelonious Monk’s “Reflections” and playing a special version of Happy Birthday for the pianist Marcus Roberts.
    Septet personnel was: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet); Wycliffe Gordon (trombone); Victor Goines (tenor sax, bass clarinet); Wes “WarmDaddy” Anderson (alto sax); Marcus Roberts (piano); Reginald Veal (bass); Herlin Riley (drums).

    (Quicktime 7 is required to view the clips – Right-click on the link to save the video-clip on your computer)

    - Reflections (06:38 min. – 72.3 mb)
    Happy Birthday for Marcus Roberts (05:50 min. – 68.9 mb)

    These video-clips are also available for free directly from our podcast on iTunes Music Store (open directly in iTunes). If you are already subscribed to the podcast, simply update your subscription on iTunes to download the new videos available.
    Feel free to comment these videos and give us your suggestion and review us in iTunes if you found our content helpful.

    More video clips from the Septet rehearsals to come soon…

  • Wynton to perform new piece for MSU and Detroit Symphony

    Posted on September 15th, 2008 | 0

    Wynton has been commissioned by the Michigan State University College of Music, MSU’s Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to create a new piece of music that celebrates Michigan.
    The world premiere of the piece will be performed by Wynton with the MSU Symphony Orchestra and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Cobb Great Hall at the Wharton Center. The commission also will premiere in Detroit’s Orchestra Hall at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 27

    “This is such an exciting opportunity to not only premiere a new piece of jazz at Wharton Center, but also share the stage with the talented students of the MSU Symphony Orchestra and three days later with the world-renowned Detroit Symphony,” Wynton said. “It’s guaranteed to be an inspiring evening not only for audience members, but also for the musicians on stage.”

    Hoping to add some remarkable repertoire to the symphony orchestra/jazz orchestra fusion genre, Rodney Whitaker, director of jazz studies at MSU’s College of Music, began the process in 2005 to commission Marsalis, his longtime friend and mentor. The Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the DSO then joined the College of Music as commissioning partners for the project.

    “He’s one of the leading musicians of our time,” Whitaker said. “He’s an icon even to classical players.”

    In addition to performances, Wynton will be on the MSU campus as an artist-in-residence from Sept. 22 to Sept. 25 to work with music students who make up the 110-member MSU Symphony Orchestra, to share his vision of the commission and to pass on some of his knowledge and opinions about music, culture and the arts.

    “The residency will begin the moment he steps onto the campus,” Whitaker said. “Having him on campus will add to the opportunities our students have to work with world-renowned, professional musicians. He has such a connection with students. They will have the opportunity to work with one of the top musicians in the country, who is well versed in classical and jazz. This collaboration and premiere performance provides a unique and powerful learning experience for members of the MSU Symphony Orchestra and for students in our jazz studies program.”

    On Sept. 22, jazz students from MSU and from the Interlochen Center for the Arts will have the chance to attend a master class led by Wynton. The residency continues with a World View Lecture with Wynton as guest speaker at 7:30 p.m. at the Wharton Center, followed by a sold-out benefit concert for the MSU College of Music Sept. 23, and concludes with the commission premiere Sept. 24.

    Whitaker tells the story of how he first met Marsalis. “I was just 16 when I met Wynton in Detroit,” he said. “He was in his early 20s at that time, and he was at my high school debating the validity of Prince’s music with students. He’s always been engaged with students. He had already had some hit recordings, but there he was discussing music with kids.”

    Events schedule

    Call the Box Office 517-432-2000 or toll free at 1-800-WHARTON (942-7866)

  • Wynton and JLCO to play with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

    Posted on September 10th, 2008 | 0

    For one extraordinary week only, December 17-21, 2008, Wynton and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) will join with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for a live music celebration of America-s two great art forms – modern dance and jazz music.
    Featuring two programs full of Duke Ellington-s most glorious orchestrations for dance, this special week is a highlight of Ailey-s 50th anniversary season at New York City Center, December 3 through January 4.
    Both programs will also feature live music for Alvin Ailey-s masterpiece Revelations, performed by the Riverside Church Inspirational Choir and conducted by Eric Reed. More info about tickets on Alvin Ailey web site

  • Wynton interviewed by Talk of the Nation and Leonard Lopate Show

    Posted on September 4th, 2008 | 0

    Wynton is giving interviews to the main radio and TV, these days, for the presentation of his new book “Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life”. You can listen to his interview online for Talk of the Nation and for The Leonard Lopate Show (also downloadable in MP3).
    Following, you can enjoy some photos from the book discussion and signing at Barnes & Noble, on September 2, 2008.

    Wynton at Barnes & Noble to discuss and sign his new book (Photo: Frank Stewart)

    Wynton at Barnes & Noble to discuss and sign his new book (Photo: Frank Stewart)

    Wynton at Barnes & Noble to discuss and sign his new book (Photo: Frank Stewart)

    Moving to Higher Ground: How can Jazz change your life

    Table of Contents

    “Now That’s Jazz”

    Discovering the Joy of Swinging (page 3 – free download in PDF)

    Speaking the Language of Jazz (page 21)

    Everybody’s Music: The Blues (page 47)

    What it Takes – and How it Feels – to Play (page 63)

    The Great Coming-Together (page 87)

    Lessons from the Masters (page 109)

    That Thing with No Name (page 157)

  • “Moving to Higher Ground” available in stores

    Posted on September 2nd, 2008 | 0

    Wynton’s new book: Moving to Higher Ground: How can Jazz change your life, is now available in stores. You can order it online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It is also possible to evaluate the book downloading the first chapter for free in PDF format.
    Today, at 7:30 PM, Wynton is going to discuss and sign the book with Geoffrey C. Ward (doors open at 7:15 pm) at Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Triangle, 1972 Broadway @ 66th Street. The event is open to the public. If you need more info, please call 212.595.6859.
    Discuss about the new book in this special thread on Wynton’s forum.

    Table of Contents

    “Now That’s Jazz”

    Discovering the Joy of Swinging (page 3)

    Speaking the Language of Jazz (page 21)

    Everybody’s Music: The Blues (page 47)

    What it Takes – and How it Feels – to Play (page 63)

    The Great Coming-Together (page 87)

    Lessons from the Masters (page 109)

    That Thing with No Name (page 157)

    An Interview with Wynton about the new book:

    Q: You’re a musician and composer. Why did you write this book, which is about life and lots of other things besides jazz?
    A: When I first decided to become a musician, at the age of 12 or 13, I was inspired by my father, and by the New Orleans jazz tradition. I was under the impression that I had only to learn the fundamentals of music–rhythm, melody, harmony, texture–to progress as a musician. What I didn’t know then was that over the next three decades, jazz music would teach me many significant things about living. This book grew out of ten years of conversatins with my friend Geoff Ward, and is my attempt to share some of it—about how important it is to be yourself in the world, and at the same time create while respecting the creativity of others.

    Q: What does the title of this book, Moving to Higher Ground, mean to you?
    A: Too often in life, petty squabbles and small-mindedness keep us from realizing a higher purpose. In jazz, that higher purpose is not theoretical: We want to sound good. And when we do, you can hear what it’s like when people are really trying to get along. It’s purely human: In Jazz, you can mess up and still come together, still move together to higher ground. The title means ascending through engagement.

    Q: You suggest that the ideas at the heart of jazz can carry over into everyday life. How so?
    A: Let’s take two ideas in jazz that are most central: swinging and the blues.

    Swinging is the art of negotiation with someone else, under the pressure of time. It shows you how opposites can come together, without compromising who they are. The one who plays the highest-sounding instrument in the rhythm section–the time-keeping cymbal–has to find a way of working with the one who plays the lowest instrument, the bass. And the bass player, who plays the softest instrument, has to find a way of working with the player of the loudest, the drums. To succeed, everybody has to have a very clear idea of the common goal: What exactly are we here to do? In jazz we know: swing. In life, if everyone involved can agree on a primary objective, a group can accomplish almost anything.

    The blues is many things–a musical form, a distinctive sound, a universal feeling–but above all, the blues is survival music. It’s message is simple: things are never so bad that they can’t get any better. It’s about crying over something, actually wailing–and it’s about coming back. The words may be sad but the dancing shuffle (the definitive rhythm of the blues) is always happy or heading toward happiness. The blues is about what is–and what is has demons and angels sitting at the same table. That’s a bitter-sweet and realistic message about life that everybody needs, that everybody can hear and respond to. I’ve heard people respond to it, all over the world.

    Q: How do jazz principles apply to, say, holding a successful meeting?
    A: If you come to a meeting without an agenda it’s probably not going to be a very good meeting. In jazz improvisation, the agenda is the form of the song. But an agenda alone doesn’t guarantee success. If everybody feels free to participate, unexpected things are sure to come up and will have to be dealt with intelligently. That’s true in jazz improvisation, too. Things are bound to come up. Some need to be discarded right away. Others need to be expounded upon. Anyone in the rhythm section playing along behind the soloist can decide, “Hey, we need to investigate this further.” And the soloist can respond, “Yeah, let’s go into that.” It’s a system of checks and balances, but what makes it work is the fact that everybody is listening and responding to what the soloist is saying without ever forgetting the agenda. That’s a pretty good model for swinging, and for getting things done.

    Q: How do jazz principles apply to a family?
    The central relationship on the bandstand is between the bass and the drums. They’re opposites of volume and register. The drums are the loudest and the swung cymbal is the highest-pitched while the bass is the softest and lowest-pitched. In order to swing, the right-hand stroke on the cymbal must find the right-hand pluck of the bass on every beat. While it is impossible to line those beats up with metronomic perfection it is possible to achieve a perfect intent to be together. That’s what you would like to see with a mama and a daddy. They represent gender opposites. While they try to come together to solve a problem we can go in the direction of a good time. When they don’t–when one is too loud or the other is unyielding–it becomes a matter of endurance, not swinging.

    Q: What can jazz teach us about our feelings and ourselves as individuals?
    A: We’re all given the gift of creativity. It comes out in all kinds of ways–the way we talk or dress or cook or whistle. I remember when I was a kid my friends and I used to see who could cut grass in the most creative way. But many times young people are put down for having a gift or skill that doesn’t fit with somebody else’s idea of what he or she should do with their lives. Jazz is the opposite of that. It tells you, “That’s you! Take pride in this thing. Express yourself. Your sound is unique. Work on it. Understand it.” Often it teaches you to celebrate yourself.

    When we talk about expressing feelings in jazz, we mean spiritual feelings, empathetic feelings, feelings that are beyond thought. In jazz, musical ideas move too quickly for you to stop and analyze or to formulate a lie. By the time you think about it, that moment of music is long gone. Jazz teaches you to cherish how you feel in the moment. It puts a premium on having faith in the people you’re playing with. Because the second you lose that faith and start to question what they’re doing, the distraction takes your mind off the music and onto bad decisions that you will surely begin to make. The combination of emotional honesty and mutual trust that jazz demands can help you if applied to almost any field.

    Q: How can jazz help you understand your own friends and family better?
    A: At first it may seem like a paradox, but jazz helps you understand other people by teaching you that you never really know anybody. When you play music with someone–even someone you think you know really well–they’ll play things you don’t expect and can’t anticipate. You’ll go in one direction, based on what you think is going to happen and they’ll take a completely different path. Jazz lets people be free, and to surprise you–and them. It doesn’t let you mail in your response or let you lump people into categories that turn out to be meaningless.

    It also shows you that people, even geniuses, evolve over time. The Duke Ellington who played in 1931 was very different from the Duke of 1961. So you learn to be patient with other people and respect the progress they’ve made and are still capable of making. One of the biggest challenges in dealing with friends and family is communication and more communication. Jazz forces us to communicate with people while recognizing their objectives, and over objectives, and where we can come together.

    Q: How is jazz related to America, the country that created it?
    A: This art form was created to explain who we are. We have rights and responsibilities in the music just as we do as citizens. The Constitution can be amended and songs can always be added to or changes. In jazz we place a premium on the individual’s right to self-expression but we also insist on checks and balances between one person’s rights infringing on another–the soloists and the rhythm section have to work things out together. Otherwise the piece is a mess.

    Jazz allows us to improvise, to negotiate with one another. It’s the sound of many people coming together in one thing. You might be from Chicago and be Jewish but you can stand on this bandstand with a Creole from New Orleans and when both of y’all play, you’ll agree on what sounds good, and you’ll agree on it because you both can hear it. It’s democracy in action and it allows us, for all our faults, to see the success of our history. It tells us who we have been, who we are now, and who we can be in the future.

    Q: Why is jazz especially relevant today?
    A: This country is looking for change. Just look at what’s going on: An African American and a woman were leading contenders for the presidency; Big questions of race and identity; millions of brand-new voters turning out. Barack Obama carrying southern states in the primaries with a charismatic message of coming together. It’s a different time in our country and I think it’s the perfect time for this music.

    Now, jazz has always been timely because it deals with the timeless issues of people, and of our democracy. Louis Armstrong dealt with them. So did Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. But if you listen to political candidates today, they almost never talk about culture. It’s never really been part of our national dialogue and it should be, because it’s the best was for us actually to come together. We talk a lot about having national conversations and we’ve tried legislating unity. But we need to understand that art can bring people who are different together. Jazz provides a context for all the experiences we as human beings share.

    The direction of our culture is ascendant. Jazz is a perfect embodiment of that. Jazz is ascendant. If we take a long view of the past 150 years, we won’t come to the conclusion that things are getting worse. We still have problems of corruption and greed. Jazz can provide a good antidote for them, too. To maintain their integrity, musicians have had to make many decisions that placed substance over commercial success. Jazz musicians have always aspired to an almost Utopian vision of a country in which everybody would come together and swing.

    The contemporary excitement around empowering people is not new to jazz. Jazz is empowerment. Its first great achievement was to empower individual musicians to take part in the creative process through improvisation. Participation is essential to a healthy American democracy, and it’s essential to America’s greatest music, too. Everybody has to participate to make it sound good. Whether you’re playing or listening, you have to be active. If you’re just sitting there and waiting for something to happen, nothing will. I hope this book will empower as many people as possible to take part by showing how an understanding of jazz and its principles can change your life, and our lives together.

  • Wynton to discuss and sign his new book

    Posted on August 29th, 2008 | 0

    Next week, Wynton is going to discuss and sign his new book: Moving to Higher Ground: How can Jazz change your life. On September 2, at 7:30 PM, he will be with Geoffrey C. Ward (doors open at 7:15 pm) at Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Triangle, 1972 Broadway @ 66th Street. The event is open to the public. If you need more info, please call 212.595.6859 or visit Barnesandnoble.com
    On September 9, at 8:00 PM, Wynton will be with Budd Mishkin for a book discussion and signing at 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave @ 92nd Street – Kaufmann Concert Hall.
    The event will also be recorded to be broadcast as part of “Live from the 92nd Street Y” fed to hundreds of non-profit organizations around the country.
    Price: $27.00 all sections. To purchase tickets visit www.92y.org or call Y-Charge at 212.415.5500. The lecture is sponsored by Barnes & Noble.

    The book will be in stores on September 2. 2008. You can pre-order it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Download the first chapter for free in PDF format.

  • Download the first chapter of Wynton’s new book

    Posted on August 26th, 2008 | 0

    Wynton’s new book, entitled “Moving to Higher Ground: How can Jazz change your life” will be in stores on September 2, 2008.
    Feel free to download the first chapter of the book (PDF – 78 kb).
    You can also pre-order the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

    Following you can find Wynton’s letter to readers of the new book.

    Dear Reader:

    When I first decided to become a musician, at the age of 12 or 13, inspired by my father, and by the New Orleans jazz tradition, I was under the impression that I had only to learn the fundamentals of music—rhythm, melody, harmony, texture—to progress as a musician. What I didn’t know then was that over the next three decades, jazz music would teach me many significant things about living. This book is my attempt to share some of the things I’ve learned through jazz about life.

    Jazz can help us realize the potential of ourselves and of our country. We hear a lot these days about how important it is for Americans to come together. Well, we’ve been doing that on the bandstand for more than a century. Jazz was integrated long before Jackie Robinson made it to the Majors. It is the unique American music form. It can help us, personally and collectively, to move to higher ground. It proves many working metaphors for successful contemporary democratic engagement.

    Central to the music of the great jazz musicians I write about in MOVING TO HIGHER GROUND: How Jazz Can Change Your Life, is the importance of being yourself—of prizing those things that make you unique and that express the truth of who you are—while recognizing the importance of listening to and responding to that same truth from other people. Without that kind of reciprocity, swinging, on stage or in everyday life, is impossible. With it, however, our collective creativity will assuredly take on all types of unimaginable and exciting new forms.

    Jazz gives us soulful insights into history and the human condition. The blues, a universal musical form, was born to heal. Jazz helps you find, or hold on to, the proper balance between your right to have things your own way and your responsibility to respect others, while working with them to improvise toward a common goal. Jazz also demonstrates that great art can be for everybody. It’s both down-home and sophisticated. It deals with elite ideas but is not elite. I have written this book because I believe jazz can change your life, as it has changed mine.

    I hope you will read MOVING TO HIGHER GROUND: How Jazz Can Change Your Life – and let me hear from you.

    Yours in the spirit of swing,
    Wynton Marsalis