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  • How Wynton Marsalis is like Mozart - and why his concerto in Philly is for violin, not trumpet

    Posted on November 1st, 2017 in Review

    Supposedly running 50 minutes at its 2015 London premiere, the concerto would seem to be one of the longest pieces of its kind. Now that it’s arriving for Philadelphia Orchestra concerts Thursday through Saturday at the Kimmel Center, the piece has a more Brahmsian length of 40 minutes. Rest assured, though, this concerto doesn’t sound like Brahms.   Keep reading »

  • Music and meaning, the Marsalis way

    Posted on October 31st, 2017 in Review

    “In a few minutes, we are going to talk about improvisation. You are about to see it,” Harvard President Drew Faust told the crowd at Sanders Theatre on Monday evening as jazz great Wynton Marsalis took up his trumpet.   Keep reading »

  • With Faust, Wynton Marsalis Reflects on Power of Music

    Posted on October 31st, 2017 in Review

    Trumpeter and composer Wynton L. Marsalis improvised some blues with the Harvard Jazz Band before reflecting on the value of education for both the arts and society with University President Drew G. Faust in a crowded Sanders Theatre Monday night.   Keep reading »

  • Marsalis and JLCO celebrate Morton and Lewis

    Posted on October 15th, 2017 in Review

    Let no one doubt that Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra aim to educate as well as entertain. That much was inescapable from their residency over the weekend in Orchestra Hall, where Marsalis and friends kicked off Symphony Center’s jazz series with rigorous examinations of the work of two jazz giants.   Keep reading »

  • Wynton Marsalis, Lincoln Center crew evoke class and artistry of Ellington

    Posted on October 12th, 2017 in Review

    Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra offered up an unforgettable concert of creative, tight, thoroughly involving jazz at the Marcus Center’s Uihlein Hall Wednesday evening, Part of the completely disarming charm of this 15-piece big band is the fun they appear to be having.   Keep reading »

  • In Season Opener, Marsalis & JLCO Pay Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton

    Posted on September 18th, 2017 in Review | 15

    “The Fantastic Mr. Jelly Lord,” the all-Jelly Roll Morton concert that opened the 2017 season of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, revealed the continued relevance of the great New Orleans maestro and was as good a case as any for Wynton Marsalis’ credo that “all jazz is modern.”   Keep reading »

  • All Rise: Strathmore’s Most Ambitious Production of the Season

    Posted on May 2nd, 2017 in Review

    The rehearsal for Strathmore’s biggest production of the 2016-2017 season is going smoothly—for the most part. During a break between movements, conductor William Eddins chastises the choir for seeming distracted. “Tomorrow,” he says, “I want all eyes on me.”   Keep reading »

  • Wynton Marsalis and JLCO colleagues swing their own tunes at Symphony Center

    Posted on March 2nd, 2017 in Review

    We’ve known for a long time that the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra stands as an ensemble of virtuosos. But that term generally refers to the level at which musicians play their instruments. In the case of the JLCO members, though, it also signifies the way they wield their pens.   Keep reading »

  • Review: Wynton Marsalis’s Urban Symphony for the Philharmonic

    Posted on December 30th, 2016 in Review

    The next time Wynton Marsalis writes a symphony for the New York Philharmonic, he might want to plan from the start to keep it well under an hour. At least if he wants to assure that the Philharmonic will be able to perform it complete. Timing was a factor in 2010, when Alan Gilbert led the American premiere of Mr. Marsalis’s Symphony No. 3, “Swing Symphony,” on a season-opening gala program. Because it was being televised on “Live From Lincoln Center,” the concert had to come in under two hours. So Mr. Gilbert dropped the first of Mr. Marsalis’s six movements, which still left some 45 minutes of music. (The symphony was performed in full the following season, and then again, with yet another movement added, in 2013.)   Keep reading »

  • The Transatlantic Collaboration Behind Wynton Marsalis’ New Violin Concerto

    Posted on November 1st, 2016 in Review

    Jazz great Wynton Marsalis, a virtuoso trumpet player and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, has written — wait for it — a violin concerto. As the daughter of the late virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. So I spent an hour with Marsalis — and the violinist he wrote his concerto with and for. (More on that later.)   Keep reading »