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  • U.S.-Cuban love affair continues, via jazz

    Posted on August 18th, 2015 in Review | 0

    Long before the U.S. flag rose above the reopened American embassy in Havana last Friday, jazz was linking two feuding nations. Long before President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro went on TV last December to announce a thaw in relations between the countries, jazz musicians from both places nurtured ties that transcended politics.   Keep reading »

  • Marsalis and JALC in warm surroundings in Skokie

    Posted on July 11th, 2015 in Review | 1

    The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has performed often in the Chicago area since 1992, the year of its first national tour – when it was called the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and presented a compelling all-Ellington program in Orchestra Hall.   Keep reading »

  • Aspen Ideas Festival closes on a high note

    Posted on July 5th, 2015 in Review | 3

    The Greenwald Pavilion was nearly filled to capacity on Saturday as Aspen Ideas patrons watched Jon Batiste and Wynton Marsalis take the stage at the final discussion of the week-long festival.   Keep reading »

  • Wayne Shorter Goes Solo With the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

    Posted on May 15th, 2015 in Review | 2

    When the saxophonist Wayne Shorter has come through town over the past 15 years or so, he has generally been with his quartet, a group that plays soul-drilling, gonzo-Zen interventions on about 50 years’ worth of his music. There is much open space in these performances, much insight and mystery, a settling into a zone between direction and indirection. Apart from Mr. Shorter’s stature as a small-group composer in jazz — the best, pretty much — the alert and unscripted way the quartet operates has for many listeners represented a current ideal for how jazz works and what it can contain: immediacy, collectivity, discipline, freedom.   Keep reading »

  • Wynton Marsalis leads a lively triple-header with orchestra

    Posted on February 15th, 2015 in Review | 0

    What’s the difference between a great ensemble and a merely fine one? Perhaps it’s malleability: the gift for adapting quickly to shifting artistic demands. Certainly Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra showed that skill over the weekend in Orchestra Hall, playing three different concerts in quick succession and to striking effect. Any one of the performances would have been memorable. All three pointed to a band that consistently rises to changing aesthetic circumstances.   Keep reading »

  • Wynton Marsalis Takes Concertgoers Through a Symphony of Blues

    Posted on February 8th, 2015 in Review | 0

    Taking their seats, the symphony orchestra begins with a wave of the conductor’s baton, led by the cheerful sound of the piccolo and the rhythm of the drums—which the program notes is supposed to signify the American Revolution and the birth of the possibility of the blues. On Wednesday night, the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md., played host to Wynton Marsalis’ Blues Symphony for hundreds who turned out—filling the expansive hall all the way to the balconies—to witness the premiere of the award-winning musician’s ambitious journey to chart the history of the blues throughout America.   Keep reading »

  • Wynton Marsalis’ ‘Blues Symphony’ at Washington Performing Arts at Strathmore

    Posted on February 5th, 2015 in Review | 1

    Last night, thanks to the generosity of Washington Performing Arts, DC audiences had the rare opportunity to see Wynton Marsalis in the fullest sense – as consummate performer, as bandleader, and as composer of a new symphony that premiered at The Music Center in Strathmore. Under the more than capable direction of conductor Jan Wagner, Marsalis debuted his Blues Symphony last night in a performance with the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, the culmination of his semester long residency at Shenandoah University as part of Washington Performing Arts’ “The Art of the Orchestra Series.”   Keep reading »

  • Wynton Marsalis debuts a stirring ‘Blues Symphony’

    Posted on February 5th, 2015 in Review | 0

    You can’t accuse Wynton Marsalis of lacking ambition. It’s right there in the title of his “Blues Symphony,” which the composer debuted in its entirety Wednesday night at Strathmore. And that says nothing of its scale. The piece is for 100 musicians (here, the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra), in six discrete movements charting the evolution of the blues throughout the Americas.   Keep reading »

  • Jazzing Up the Holidays at Dallas Symphony

    Posted on December 14th, 2014 in Review | 0

    The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis is so far from the usual big-band cliché that it’s mind-blowing. A dozen of the finest jazz horn players in the nation performed with graceful vigor, enabled by an acoustic rhythm section of piano, bass and drums that imparted support and swing. At Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center on Thursday night as part of Dallas Symphony Orchestra Christmas Pops!, they enlivened tunes from the mid-1500s to modern, with exceedingly imaginative arrangements mostly generated by band members.   Keep reading »

  • Singer is a hit at Marsalis’ swingin’ Christmas show

    Posted on December 13th, 2014 in Review | 2

    Decked out in a white dress and blazing red high-heels, Salvant, who is only 25, walked out on the stage before a full house at FAMU’s Lee Hall Auditorium on Saturday night and let everyone know that she may be the best jazz vocalist of her generation.   Keep reading »