Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis return to the Barbican in July 2012
The world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis return to the Barbican for their second International Associate residency in July 2012. Following on from their critically acclaimed visit in 2010, the second residency will give audiences the opportunity to experience music performed by some of America’s finest jazz musicians in concerts, workshops, masterclasses, professional development events and talks.
Focusing on new commissions and collaborations, one of the highlights of the residency is the UK premiere of jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’ symphonic meditation on the evolution of swing, Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3). The new work can be heard at the Barbican on 25 & 26 July performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
Taking the programme in exciting new directions, the residency also features two European premieres. The first is Wynton Marsalis’ Congo Square – a composition written by Wynton Marsalis and Ghanaian drum master Yacub Addy. The piece skillfully combines traditional African music with jazz and celebrates the historic Congo Square site in New Orleans, the only location in America where African slaves were allowed to perform music and dance from their motherland. Performed on 10 July by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Yacub Addy’s celebrated Ghanaian percussion and vocal ensemble Odadaa!, Congo Square was premiered on 23 April 2006 in Congo Square itself, which is inside the Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans.
The second European premiere on 13 July is Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass , which was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center and first performed to celebrate the bicentenary of New York City’s Abyssinian Baptist Church in 2008. This large-scale work brings together the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with a 100-voice choir, including Croydon SDA Gospel Choir & London Adventist Chorale and conducted by Damien Sneed, to perform modernist variants of New Orleans dirges and struts, modal excursions of hard-bop and the Ellington big-band legacies of brassy swing, and sumptuously harmonised ballads.
On 16 July the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis are joined by Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez, plus musicians Ariacne Trujillo and Jhair Sala , for a concert entitled Afro-Cuban Fiesta. This event provides an opportunity for Marsalis and the orchestra to revisit their impressions and experiences from a recent historic visit to La Havana, Cuba, where they performed with Cuban musicians. The concert explores the connection between the American jazz big band tradition and Afro-Cuban jazz.
Each year, JALC Education produces a variety of education programmes that reach tens of thousands of participants around the world. Working together with the Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning Division, the residency programme includes a day of free workshops and jam sessions for all in East London (details to be announced at a later date), masterclasses with Guildhall School jazz musicians, and a project with the East London Creative Jazz Orchestra. This creative jazz ensemble is formed of up to 30 young people selected in partnership with Music Services from the ten Olympic Gateway Boroughs under the artistic direction of Band Director Paul Griffiths.
Another highlight of the Creative Learning work is the first UK-wide version of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s acclaimed Essentially Ellington High School Big Band Jazz programme. Eleven youth jazz orchestras of all standards from across the UK will learn traditional big band charts composed by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams and Dizzy Gillespie. They will receive on-site visits and workshops delivered by teams of UK and US jazz musicians and the programme culminates in an event at the Barbican on 14 July with special guests from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The programme is based on the hugely successful annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival which is one of the most innovative jazz education events in the world.