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  • Ahmad Jamal Strikes up the Orchestra

    Posted on September 22nd, 2008 in Review | 0

    Can this really be the fifth season of Jazz at Lincoln Center at Rose Hall? Already there are young people filling seats at the Rose Theater who probably feel that JaLC has been around forever, and even take it for granted. They’d probably be amazed to hear that listeners in the 1940s thought it was a big deal whenever jazz made it to one of the major concert halls, like Carnegie or Town Hall, and probably couldn’t imagine a world in which American music was accorded the same respect as symphonies and chamber works. (It had only been a few generations since ragtime was condemned by the pope and jazz itself was officially denounced by the city of New Orleans, where it was created.) So if young fans want to act as though Rose Hall — the only jazz-specific multiplex in the country, if not the world — is no big deal, then that’s a good thing, an illustration of how far we’ve come.   Keep reading »

  • A Pianist Fully in Charge of Everything He Surveys

    Posted on September 19th, 2008 in Review | 0

    Ahmad Jamal stood up repeatedly from the piano at the Rose Theater on Thursday night, almost always during a song. His reasons had to do with the act of management, which plays an important role in his music. Sometimes he turned to face the rest of his rhythm section, as if to observe its progress or pass silent judgment. Sometimes he was making an announcement, or cuing the big band onstage. It was the kickoff for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s new season, but the timing felt almost incidental. Mr. Jamal had the floor, unequivocally, and he wasn’t interested in behaving like a guest.   Keep reading »

  • Marsalis Leads The Faithful

    Posted on April 15th, 2008 in Review | 0

    This past weekend, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, which is generally regarded as New York’s oldest Afro-American religious institution, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall was transformed into a kind of spiritual multiplex. Gospel choirs issued forth from every performance space, and also in the public atrium in between (where macaroni and cheese was served, presumably to evoke the provisions one might find at a Sunday school picnic). What artistic director Wynton Marsalis usually calls the House of Swing had become the House of Prayer.   Keep reading »

  • Marsalis Mass Honors Harlem Church

    Posted on April 14th, 2008 in Review | 0

    A young institution pays tribute to a venerable one with Wynton Marsalis’s “Abyssinian 200: A Celebration.” It was written for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, founded in 1988, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, a bulwark of African-American New York City. The orchestra introduced the work last week at its own Rose Theater.   Keep reading »

  • Marsalis summons the spirit

    Posted on April 13th, 2008 in Review | 0

    In the early days of jazz in New Orleans, Saturday night was the flip side of Sunday morning. The call-and-response dynamic among a band’s players was inspired by preacher and congregation; trumpeters emulated the bent-note wails and chants of gospel song.   Keep reading »

  • Reviews and video from the first part of Ellington Tour

    Posted on January 27th, 2008 in Review | 10

    As you know, Wynton and the JLCO are touring USA to perform the music of Duke Ellington…Now the band is playing in California (Check the next dates).   Keep reading »

  • Sounds That Remain Miles Ahead

    Posted on October 27th, 2007 in Review | 0

    In the best of Gil Evans’s work, nothing signifies a finished style. Achieving his kind of openness took stubborn drive: The ease with which his arranging and composing came to connect Maurice Ravel, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Kurt Weill, Claude Thornhill, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Charles Mingus and Jimi Hendrix didn’t indicate a path of least resistance. His work, from the 1940s to the 1980s, represents jazz’s thousand limbs, its endless reach.   Keep reading »

  • Wynton playing at Barbican Hall

    Posted on July 25th, 2007 in Review | 5

    I saw the Duke Ellington Orchestra once, when Duke was dying, and his leading soloists were winding down their musical lives. But it still sounded like a group of inspired chancers who liked mixing order and happenstance.   Keep reading »

  • ‘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 »