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Wynton is on tour to perform Congo Square

From today, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton and Odadaa! with Yacub Addy will tour the critically-acclaimed work, Congo Square, written by Wynton and Yacub Addy, to 11 U.S. cities.
The 24 musicians will perform the celebrated musical experience that had its world premiere in New Orleans last spring. A CD of Congo Square is available on tour only right now, and will be released in the fall.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra personnel:
Music director and trumpet: Wynton Marsalis; trumpets: Ryan Kisor, Sean Jones, Marcus Printup, James Zollar; trombones: Chris Crenshaw, Vincent Gardner, Elliot Mason; reeds: Walter Blanding, Victor Goines, Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Joe Temperley; piano: Dan Nimmer; bass: Carlos Henriquez; drums: Ali Jackson.

Odadaa! personnel:
Yacub Addy, founder & leader, percussion, vocals; Okoe Nunoo, assistant leader, percussion, vocals; Obuamah Laud Addy, vocals, percussion; Ani Apang, guitar, percussion, vocals; Imani Gonzalez, vocals; Zorkie Nelson, percussion, bamboo flutes, vocals; Tawiah Nunoo, percussion, vocals; Ayaa Tagoe, flutes, percussion, vocals; Otey Thompson, balaphones, percussion, vocals.

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  1. I am looking for Russ Henry- he has a comment in 2007 if you know where he is or his e-mail I would love to know it- send to my e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) thanks

    Pat Kennedy on Jul 2nd, 2009 at 3:14pm

  2. Hi Sandra,

    How was the Denver Congo Square show? I love that music. Look on this site under discography and you can follow the link to buy the disc. OR…. if you want one that’s autographed, you can check out the gift shop at http://www.jalc.org

    Happy Holidays!!

    Karen on Dec 28th, 2008 at 11:05am

  3. I purchased the Congo Square CD at the concert held at Denver’s Botanic Gardens the summer of 2007. My son borrowed it and it has left for parts unknown. Is there any way I could get another one from you? Thank you. Sandra Morris
    p.s. I see that it is now available on DVD, but I want one I can play on my various CD players.

    Sandra Morris on Dec 27th, 2008 at 6:37pm

  4. JUne 29 I attended atr Winton Marsalis and Congo Sqare. I was delighted. What a brilliant musician and man!


    Mélusine2 on Jul 13th, 2007 at 4:53pm

  5. “Our eyes were watching Congo square”

    I am one of the few fortunate people on planet earth to have witnessed the inaugural unveiling and closing jazz festival shows of Congo Square performed live in Rochester, NY (06/14) and Montreal, Canada (06/28).

    Congo square conjured a magical sound of music in my ears, and conveyed a mythical feeling that left me searching for answers. What’s going on? What am I hearing? What do I see? The goose bumps swelled from the opening foreplay of Wynton’s trumpet solo, titillating desires for more music to come. My butt cheeks tightened as Odadaa spoke in tongues calling on some energy. My breathing changed as the JALC orchestra propelled the history of Jazz to a new height. History was made (or in the making for skeptics). Two-hours thirty minutes of monstropolous sound ensued. The creator was speaking in a tongue called “Root Jazz.”

    06/14-06/28 will go down in history books as the 14-days of labor giving birth to a new form of jazz, whence the name Wynton Marsalis becomes immortal, rooting the ancestry of a People lost in America to a sacred ground… Be it said, rooting Africans in America to Congo Square, a place where people unapologetically improvised and expressed an insuppressible talent leading to the birth of Jazz.

    I turned to Zora Neal Hurston for inspiration and comprehension of this exhilarating escapade to Africa from America, seating in theatres that felt like first class in a ship.

    Zora said, “You know, honey, us colored folks is branches without roots and that makes things come round in queer ways.” So many of us are lost in a land far away from home, busy toiling in “Sweet home” hunted by the ghost of BELOVED, the name I give to neo-urban ignorance of our ancestry. Wynton and all involved in the composing Congo Square – “THANK YOU FOR GIVING US A TASTE OF OUR ROOTS”.

    Zora said, “It is one of the blessings of this world that few people see visions and dream dreams.” Wynton is one blessed with a vision and a dream and Congo Square is testimony to a dream so real for many of us that we will fail to appreciate its boundaries and implications for generations to come.

    Zora said, “A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.” Congo Square is mighty big to me! The volume of its sound, the kaleidoscopic effect of notes from the boom doom drums, stringing base, and spiking clamors of piping instruments galore. Congo Square is a mighty big hurricane so true to the roots of jazz that it will surely turn King Oliver, Bessie, Sarah, Ella, Louis, Duke, Dizzy, Miles, and Monk in their graves. The millions of souls at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean that never made it to Congo Square will be swirled in awe by the vortex forces of the swing. My generation and those to come can now jump on the big band train on tracks that came out of Congo square, hopefully connecting them to their roots… Congo square is a score blessed by its historic proportions. Mmmmmhhhh, MIGHTY BIG.

    Thank you, Wynton for using your talent to link a lost generation back to its roots. Now I know why I felt so good but confused in my seat. My (our) eyes were watching as Congo Square was unleashed mighty big for critics and lovers of jazz to comprehend. Happy birthday “root jazz.”

    Moka Lantum on Jul 2nd, 2007 at 4:54pm

  6. Good luck in Europe, Wynton, we’ll miss you over here. Wish I could be with you guys to keep practicing my French!! Travel safe, your Grace.

    Karen on Jul 1st, 2007 at 8:55am

  7. Thanks for coming to the show and glad you enjoyed it.
    I appreciate you taking time to send me these kind notes.

    Wynton Marsalis on Jun 27th, 2007 at 8:28am

  8. We truly enjoyed the performance in Detroit !! Thank you for your acts of kindness towards the student at the DSO Civic Jazz. We hope to see you again soon.

    Kelly and Gavin on Jun 23rd, 2007 at 1:24pm

  9. Just saw Congo Square in Grand Rapids. What an awesome performance. The blend of music is one of a kind. And the musicians are perfection. A truly great experience. Not to miss.

    Russ Henry on Jun 22nd, 2007 at 3:32pm

  10. Brilliant musicianship all around, Wynton writes very difficult, virtuostic ensemble figures with complex counter rhythms, the band (both of them) performed phenomonally.
    The spiritual vibe between the musicians was at its peak. You could sense the love and mutual respect they had for each other…Wynton sounded stronger than I’ve heard him in over a year…and the audience was dancing in the aisles for the finale!
    Average to low crowd turnout, possibly due to high ticket prices for benefit concert or just the distraction of summer…..my 14-year old daughter was impressed with Wynton’s dancing! HA. In all a great evening that reinforces his standing as America’s preeminent composer.

    Juanmustard on Jun 19th, 2007 at 1:04am

  11. The staff of Inner City Christian Federation in Grand Rapids, MI is really looking forward to hosting Wynton, the LCJO and the Odadaa! drum ensemble at DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids on Thursday night. Wynton and his quartet were here in 2004 for our fundraiser concert and we want him to see the restoration of a building from 1908 which will be our new headquarters.

    Mary on Jun 18th, 2007 at 2:52pm

  12. Show in Columbia Maryland seemed forced and scripted. Audience did not seem to appreciate the combination. We left at intermission. If you are not into African Jazz this is not for you.

    Barbara Goetz on Jun 17th, 2007 at 9:45pm

  13. Perfection, entertainment, creativity, excitement, engaging the audience, standing ovation after standing ovation — this is what I witnessed June 14 in Rochester. If he had been here a second night and played the same music, I would have gladly returned to hear it again. What an evening! Thank you, Wynton, and all who so professionally and so competently brought about such an evening of entertainment of the first class.

    Foster Rogers on Jun 17th, 2007 at 6:10pm

  14. Where can I get a list of Marsalis albums?

    Win Hardisty on Jun 16th, 2007 at 11:37pm

  15. Totally Amazing…!!

    Caught Wynton and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra along with Yacub Addy and Odadaa! (from Ghana)at the Eastman Theatre, Rochester NY (Rochester International Jazz Festival) last night…took my two teenagers. My kids are both musicians and my 18 year old was really impressed. He is in a post hardcore/metalcore band and awakening to jazz and other genres all the time. My daughter is 15 and has ambitions in opera and/or contemporary so they take their music seriously. I am a poet/writer/single mom.

    And as if exploring the roots of jazz in its new orleans/African roots weren’t enough; to hear, feel and witness the transitions between the two and wonder how they were so masterfully accomplish truly boggles the mind in retrospect, even if the two side by side now seem like the most natural thing in the world to me. My epiphany was seeing the fusion actually take place.

    Never in my years have I ever been quite this impressed……

    Sarah Brinklow on Jun 15th, 2007 at 11:56pm

  16. I saw this show last night in Rochester and it was AMAZING. A-MAZ-ING. The energy, the spirit, the sound was just spectacular. If you have the opportunity to check it out, you really should. Trust me, it will be money well spent! It is hard to explain in words how Wynton and Addy were able to successfully merge African drumming with a jazz orchestra. You just have to hear it (and see it) to believe it! (And who knew Wynton could move like THAT)! Kudos to Carlos for his involvement in making the project happen (and happy belated birthday to him, as well).

    KD on Jun 15th, 2007 at 9:47pm

  17. I just saw part of this on BET Jazz at 4am this morning as part of their Journey with Jazz at Lincoln Center series. Should be an interesting show.

    Sonalii on Jun 15th, 2007 at 12:01pm

  18. It will be released this fall.

    Luigi Beverelli on Jun 15th, 2007 at 11:22am

  19. when the new Congo Square album will be out ?

    Jason P. on Jun 15th, 2007 at 9:41am