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JLCO: The Fantastic Mr. Jelly Lord

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis kicks off our 30th season with a joyous celebration of New Orleans legend Jelly Roll Morton (1890–1941). Jazz’s first great composer, musical intellect, and piano virtuoso, Morton gave us the musical blueprint of an eternal New Orleans and jazz as we know it today. Through both classic and never-before-heard arrangements of essential tunes like “King Porter Stomp,” “Jungle Blues,” “Black Bottom Stomp,” and “The Pearls,” the JLCO will showcase the contemporary power and the depth of possibility in the earliest jazz. The concepts found in these pieces have been explored by master musicians for the past century, and through the lens of Jelly Roll, you will hear that all jazz is truly modern. In addition to the JLCO’s own resident pianist Dan Nimmer, this performance will feature the celebrated pianist Aaron Diehl, rising star Sullivan Fortner, and two promising young Juilliard jazz students from the Midwest and the West: Micah Thomas and Joel Wenhardt. Jelly Roll had to proclaim himself the “King of Jazz” in the early 20th century, but his genius stands the test of time. His music is earthy, sophisticated, and – most of all, fun – guaranteeing a raucous and festive opening weekend in Rose Theater. Welcome back to the House of Swing!