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  • 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 »

  • Marsalis, Lincoln Center orchestra make season bright at Marcus Center

    Posted on December 2nd, 2014 in Review | 0

    You know it’s a good gig when you can’t tell if the band or the audience is having more fun. Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant and an Uihlein Hall audience shared a great time Monday with the band’s “Big Band Holidays” at the Marcus Center. The music, most of which was arranged by members of the band, was miles and miles from the trite pop arrangements cluttering the air this time of year. These were meaty, interesting takes on great tunes, each leaving plenty of room for band members to take solos.   Keep reading »

  • JLCO with Wynton Marsalis and Cécile McLorin Salvant at Marcus Center in Milwaukee

    Posted on December 2nd, 2014 in Review | 0

    The holiday season fits polymath Wynton Marsalis like a big white mitten. The artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center totes nine Grammy awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a bounty of celebratory musical goodies to share in spirit, as might the most soulful St. Nick.   Keep reading »

  • Concert Review: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in Milwaukee

    Posted on December 2nd, 2014 in Review | 0

    Wynton Marsalis came to Milwaukee last to give a history lesson. But instead of using Powerpoint for the instruction, he brought along the 17-piece Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as his teaching tool. Marsalis offered background and context for each piece, yet at no time were his remarks dry or didactic. In fact, once the format was established, Marsalis’ brief comments before each selection became a welcomed and expected part of the evening’s performance.   Keep reading »

  • A Latin Musician Translates a Meeting of Cultures

    Posted on November 15th, 2014 in Review | 2

    The reality that jazz and Afro-Latin music have been mixed for a century can sometimes lead to the myth that a musician trained in one tradition is effectively trained in the other, and that fluency runs both ways at all times, in all places. And so you might have looked at an advertisement for the Panamanian singer Rubén Blades collaborating with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, as he is doing through Saturday night at the Rose Theater, and thought, sure, Latin jazz.   Keep reading »