Transcript of Wynton’s speech at Jazz in Marciac opening

Posted on July 31st, 2007 in Speech | Tags: marciac festival, opening ceremony, transcript

Yesterday, Wynton spoke in Marciac for the official opening of the Jazz Festival. He was introduced by the producer Jean-Louis Guilhaumon. Here is the transcript of his speech:

Jazz music was born in New Orleans and really comes from the french part of New Orleans.
Because musicians…people who was slave, who played drums in Congo Square, and after the Louisiana purchase in 1804, there was always an attempt the keep them from playing.

But musicians continued to play and create music that celebrates freedom of the human spirit and many of the great early New Orleans musicians had french names, the greatest of which was Sidney Bechet, who became also an hero here.
So there’s a natural relationship between the music of jazz and the french people.

For me, personally, I learned how to play classical music because I was given a recording of the great french trumpeter Maurice André. I was a country boy, lived in Kenner, Louisiana.
I will go home and put this recording on of Maurice AndrĂ©. I red that his parents were coal miners, they worked in a coal-mine, and I said, this man could learn how to play classical trumpet and their parents work in coal mine…
I can learn how to play classical trumpet coming from Kenner, Louisiana !

On that album he was playing german music.
But the spirit of music and arts is international. And if the art is rich enough it is epical, it speaks across epochs. So over many year of working I was fortunate enough to come here to Marciac in the late ’80. I have had the chance to play with the great Guy Lafitte, and experience the international power of jazz music.
This is a place of such soul, such feeling, with the people of the community coming around the music. I had experienced that in no other place in the world except than in New Orleans.
In many places the art is just a matter of business. Here, for this time of the festival, it is incorporated into a way of life.

We have beautiful young people playing and learning how to play, we have people from all over who volunteer their time to participate in this wonderful happening. And through this we celebrate the greatest gifts that jazz music has to give all of us.
One is that we are all individual and important as ourself.
Two is that the greatest thing we can all do is to work together and be a part of a singular greatness of the group.

The proudest things for me in my life is to be part of Marciac Jazz Festival.
Musicians all over the world talk about it. Talk about how they wanna come, what is going on, how is it.
The fame of the festival is growing and growing and growing.
It is important for us to realize that is not a matter of how big we are but how good we are.
The initiatives we have…there’s a new 500 seat theater… “Les Deux Maisons”…something that will be very important in terms of using jazz music and this region and establishing a very strong tradition that we can pass on to celebrate international nature of us coming together run this very very great art form.

It’s always an honor for me to be here with the great Jean-Louis.
I remain at service of the festival and I wish I could do more.
Thank you

Wynton with his manager and Jean-Louis Guilhaumon
Wynton with his manager and Jean-Louis Guilhaumon

Wynton speaking at Marciac Jazz Festival 2007 opening
Wynton speaking at Marciac Jazz Festival 2007 opening

Wynton speaking at Marciac Jazz Festival 2007 opening
Wynton speaking at Marciac Jazz Festival 2007 opening