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  • ‘Congo Square’ a dialogue of eras

    Posted on June 26th, 2007 in Review | 4

    When Wynton Marsalis rocketed to stardom in the 1980s, he seemed poised to enjoy a long career as a hyper-virtuoso trumpeter. Though Marsalis remains a top-flight soloist, it’s his work as composer of epic scores that more deeply defines his art. Clearly, no one else in recent jazz history has produced a comparable list of vast compositions, including the thunderous “All Rise” (performed earlier this year by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), the incantatory “In This House, On This Morning” (a jazz evocation of a gospel church service) and the incendiary “Blood on the Fields” (the first jazz composition to win the Pulitzer Prize in music, in 1997).   Keep reading »

  • A dazzling trip to Crescent City’s Congo Square

    Posted on June 23rd, 2007 in Review | 0

    After helping elevate the jazz genre to an even more mainstream platform throughout the 1980s, Wynton Marsalis has embarked upon a number of compelling paths. Yet the famed trumpeter/composer/conductor is currently in the midst of an incredibly ambitious streak thanks to his new work Congo Square, which he’s been staging all across the country backed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, along with drum master Yacub Addy and his eight piece Odadaa! Troupe.   Keep reading »

  • Marsalis delivers a big-bang world-beat on Clevaland’s `Congo Square’

    Posted on June 19th, 2007 in Review | 10

    Worlds collided to wonderful effect when trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and percussionist Yacub Addy’s Odadaa! ensemble shared the stage Monday evening at Playhouse Square’s Allen Theatre.   Keep reading »

  • Say Amen, Everybody, 15 Years Down the Line

    Posted on May 26th, 2007 in Review | 1

    When Wynton Marsalis unveiled his sanctified long-form composition “In This House, on This Morning” 15 years ago, it marked a breakthrough for him as well as for Jazz at Lincoln Center, where he had recently begun his tenure as artistic director. So it might be tempting to view the piece’s revival this week as an act of misty nostalgia, the equivalent of dusting off a scrapbook, or a treasured hymnal, and gingerly turning pages.   Keep reading »

  • A Record Label’s Legacy Is Celebrated and Reimagined

    Posted on April 28th, 2007 in Review | 0

    The legacy of Blue Note Records cuts a wide swath through music history, from the boogie-woogie bustle of Meade Lux Lewis to the folk-stirred pop of Norah Jones. But the label’s core identity rests on a remarkable body of recordings made in the 1950s and ’60s. It’s only natural that “Legends of Blue Note,” a concert presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center on Thursday night, would focus chiefly on that era, if only as a ratification of its enduring appeal.   Keep reading »

  • Looking Home to The Crescent City

    Posted on April 12th, 2007 in Review | 1

    Wynton Marsalis is rarely predictable. When it was announced that his concert on Tuesday would feature the same edition of the Marsalis Sextet that’s on his new album, “From the Plantation to the Penitentiary,” as well as the singer Jennifer Sanon, who is extensively featured on the album, it was a logical conclusion that Mr. Marsalis would be performing music from the new release.   Keep reading »

  • Wynton Marsalis Checks In on The Land That Never Has Been Yet

    Posted on April 8th, 2007 in Review | 0

    I’ve been listening to Wynton Marsalis’ new disc From the Plantation to the Penitentiary a lot.  It’s got the music—a neat jazz combo running through a variety of styles.  It’s just enough bop and bebop so it doesn’t put one to sleep like a Kenny G. solo, but it’s not an avalanche of sound like those from Coltrane’s thundering Ascension either.  Then there’s the vocals.  Yes, the vocals.  Mr. Marsalis is putting some lyrics to his tunes on this one, and he’s got plenty to say.   Keep reading »

  • The Band Strikes Up to Play a Few of Its Favorite Things

    Posted on April 3rd, 2007 in Review | 3

    Some concerts by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra adhere to thematic prescriptions: the legacy of a single composer, for instance, or the sound of a specific place and time. “The Songs We Love,” which the band performed in more than a dozen cities leading up to a three-night stand at the Rose Theater, advanced a somewhat less focused agenda.   Keep reading »

  • A Few of Our Favorite Things

    Posted on April 2nd, 2007 in Review | 0

    When Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra climaxed their concert Thursday night at the Rose Theater with “Rhapsody in Blue,” they were, in a very literal sense, settling an old score. The last time the JALCO played the “Rhapsody” was in November, at an all-Gershwin Gala. That treatment featured the pianist Marcus Roberts as star soloist, but, through no fault of the orchestra or Mr. Roberts, it had to be the worst version of Gershwin’s classic that I’ve ever heard.   Keep reading »

  • One more lesson from Marsalis: masterclass at Onondaga Community College

    Posted on March 28th, 2007 in Review | 3

    Wynton Marsalis shared so many insights during his visit to OCC on Tuesday morning that even after yesterday’s Listen Up item and today’s story in The Post-Standard, I have one more observation jumping out of my notebook.   Keep reading »