Reviews and Photos from Wynton’s Third Harvard Lecture “Meet Me at the Crossroads”

Posted on February 14th, 2012 in Review | Tags: bluegrass, blues, country western, folk, gospel, harvard, hillbilly, lecture

Wynton Marsalis: Telling a love story

Wynton Marsalis recently gave the third of six epic lectures that he is slated to give at Harvard University. He promised that this one wasn’t going to be 4 and half hours long, as the last one was. When he got started, the result was part history lesson, part concert, part spoken-word poetry reading. Three hours into the show, his agenda became clear: He was telling a timeless story about love. For Charlie “Yardbird’’ Parker, inventor of bebop. For Bessie Smith, teller of the low-down nasty truth. For Woody Guthrie, who sang about running from the law. For all those who sang about being both broke and broken-hearted. For every artist who cared more about art than celebrity.
Like every great blues man, Marsalis was lamenting the loss of something he loves. Jazz and the blues are falling by the wayside. Young people don’t understand how crucial this music is to America’s integration as a people. Identifying a blues song should be part of any citizenship test, he says: “If you can’t do that, you are not ready to be here yet.’’

Tickets to this extraordinary lecture series have been free to members of the public who get to the box office in time. Marsalis has even spent time teaching Cambridge school children. Marsalis and Harvard should be commended for giving these lectures to future generations. They ought to go one step further and put them online for the world to enjoy.

Boston Globe Editorial

Check these articles about the Lecture on Harvard Gazette:

- The melding of American music

- Notes on music’s lessons

Check some pictures from rehearsals, sound check and lecture