We played to a packed house in full Saturday night finery
Last night we played in the impressive Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It is an architectural marvel, a masterful piece of community development, and it is a new and defining landmark in the home of supersonic genius alto saxophonist, Charlie Parker.
We played to a packed house in full Saturday night finery, glowing with the anticipation and expectation that attends the presence of a large ensemble of musicians and fellow citizens anointed in the red robes of the Holy. Every community sits in its hall a different way. This is the Midwest, and our audience surrounds us. Though even the ghost of Boss Pendergast is long gone, these are still good time, no-nonsense people. They sit in a concentrated silence and we are engulfed in their feeling.
We almost always have great local musicians come out. Sometimes they grace us with a song. For jazz lovers, Kansas City means Bobby Watson, and the great alto man sat in with us last time we were here. Last night, we were blessed with the presence of one of our genius actors, Ms. Hilary Swank. She was in attendance with members of her family and listened with the same sophistication, concentration and sensitivity that defines her superb acting. She has agreed to write today’s post:
Wynton Marsalis never ceases to amaze. His music always touches me profoundly and sends me traveling somewhere new and wondrous. He and the orchestra are supremely diverse, stunningly brilliant and always pushing the bar higher. Last night in Kansas City, Missouri, I had the privilege to witness Wynton’s latest masterpiece. A Gospel Celebration called: Abyssinian Mass. My words fall short in describing this awe inspiring performance, but once again, the music transformed and lifted the entire audience.
The full Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra along with a 70 piece choir was masterfully conducted by the stunning Damien Sneed. Perhaps what amazed me most was witnessing such an immense size ensemble, listening to each other with such sensitivity and “playing off” of one another with such grace and aplomb! Wynton’s music sees life through so many different perspectives and tonight it was through God.
Today is our longest travel day of the entire tour from Kansas City to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. We were in the bus at 2am comparing Gates Barbecue to L.C’s. Tomorrow night, it will be a privilege to perform as part of the inaugural season at Messiah College’s Calvin and Janet High Center for Worship and Performing Arts.
“Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration”, will be on tour on October 3-23, and will be webcast live on October 24th, 25th and 26th at 8PM ET on http://wyntonmarsalis.org/live