Marsalis and company play ‘Songs We Love’
If you were lucky enough to score a ticket to Saturday night’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis concert, then you heard a pristine performance from a group of world-class musicians.
The program presented by the orchestra was called “The Songs We Love,” and it was filled with well-known Jazz and Big Band standards.
Not one for idle stage chatter, Marsalis opened the evening performance with Duke Ellington’s loose, swinging rendition of “The Sunny Side of the Street.”
The group followed that up with Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” in a breezy arrangement punctuated with trumpet, saxophone and piano improvisations.
An intricate drum intro segued them into a lightning-fast “Sweet Georgia Brown,” which featured the masterful Marsalis on trumpet. The melody also contained a fanciful exchange between the clarinet and the saxophone players that amused the audience.
Next up was a languorous take on “My Funny Valentine” that evoked noir films from the 1940s and ’50s. Then Marsalis switched gears, guiding the group through Dizzy Gillespie’s exotic-sounding “Night in Tunisia.”
Marsalis finally stepped fully into the spotlight for a song right before intermission with which I wasn’t familiar – but I didn’t have to be. The bandleader played as he walked around the stage and ended with an astounding solo that had the concert-goers sitting next to me shaking their heads in amazement.
If not for the two patrons in front of me who spent the entire time texting on their cell phones, the night would have been seamlessly enjoyable.
– by Ami Morris