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Wynton’s Blog

  • In the countdown to Friday’s inauguration…

    Posted on January 18th, 2017 | 8

    In the countdown to Friday’s inauguration, I find myself being asked - at least once a day - whether or not I would agree to play at the festivities, if invited.  Yesterday, while fellowshipping with a number of college-aged youngsters, both my willingness to perform, and my interest in joining a protest were called into question. “Would I perform, if asked?”  “Yes,” I said. “Would you protest the accepted outcome of the election?” “No,” I said, and quickly followed up with, “I’ll at least wait for him (or them) to actually do something that I feel should be protested against.”   Keep reading »

  • In light of our ongoing national crisis with law enforcement…

    Posted on July 14th, 2016 | 3

    In light of our ongoing national crisis with law enforcement, it is ironic that two weeks ago Chicago native and police officer, Tony Parker, agreed to fly to New York and drive, as the second driver to Boss Murphy, back to Chicago and the Ravinia Festival. Boss and I were going to hear the U.S. premiere of my Violin Concerto for the great Nicky Benedetti and the venerated Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Tony did us a solid.   Keep reading »

  • In Memoriam: Joe Temperley

    Posted on May 12th, 2016

    It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Staff, Board of Directors, and Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, say goodbye to our beloved Orchestra member, saxophonist Joe Temperley.   Keep reading »

  • Spaces focuses on the definitive traits of 10 animals

    Posted on April 2nd, 2016 | 4

    Throughout history we have lived close to animals and have been reliant on them in so many ways. In this densely populated metropolis, our way of life does not include meaningful contact with any undomesticated animals larger than squirrels. But the animal kingdom remains a foundation of our mythology, personality and understanding of our space in the world.   Keep reading »

  • The great Maestro Kurt Masur once said, “Let’s face the new year with a new brain”

    Posted on January 1st, 2016 | 4

    I offer this prayer and the ensuing section of the yet unreleased Abyssinian Mass today to thank and express gratitude to everyone involved with our music on any level of participation. The great Maestro Kurt Masur once said, “Let’s face the new year with a new brain.” We all laughed, but he had an excellent point because all of us are struggling with something. Some form of dues always winds up on our plates (even if it wasn’t on the menu), and it always costs more than we have.    Keep reading »

  • For the final day of 2015 I have selected three pieces

    Posted on December 31st, 2015

    For the final day of 2015 I have selected three pieces. The first, entitled After the Dead, is a dirgey solo trumpet fanfare that was written for John Singleton’s mid-90’s film, Rosewood.   Keep reading »

  • He and She was a return to the endlessly rich subject of relations and relationships

    Posted on December 30th, 2015 | 1

    We recorded He and She in 2007. It was a return to the endlessly rich subject of relations and relationships which was the topic of Blue Interlude, my first extended composition. The music was written to an original poem about a man who is taught the basic arithmetic of life, love, and loss by the woman of his desires. They both ride that untamable wave of confusion and coherence that drives us mad with boundless joy and delirious with untold suffering.   Keep reading »

  • I always remembered any club that had the courage to hire me when I first started

    Posted on December 29th, 2015 | 3

    I grew up in clubs. In Hanson City, Louisiana, we lived next to an old southern segregated style restaurant/bar/pool hall that always had Sam and Dave on the juke box and Miss Mary behind the bar serving the best boiled shrimp in the world. It wasn’t an environment for children, so if you were lucky to be allowed into it, almost all of the grown folks would treat you like a little prince, and the few who were just on the edge of solvency (or sanity) would make sure you received a scholarship, education, and diploma that opened doors to the late-night netherworld all of the universe, and forever.   Keep reading »

  • In 1998, I was commissioned by JALC to write a new piece called Big Train

    Posted on December 28th, 2015

    In 1998, I was commissioned by JALC to write a new piece called Big Train.  It was composed during a 3-week tour of Asia, Australia, and Europe. Victor Goines was the copyist, and the work was so constant and unrelenting that it nearly killed both of us. When creating long pieces (that are certain to have limited listenership at best) I always work on the outline for a long time to make sure the structure makes absolute sense. Then, when it’s late, I start actually writing music. By this time, the necessity to finish quickly creates an intense pressure and a critical energy that forces me to concentrate. The music begins as a trickle and soon, it pours in.   Keep reading »

  • “Big 12” is my take on the 12 beat cycle (compas) of Bulerias

    Posted on December 27th, 2015

    Big 12 is a movement from the Vitoria Suite. Even though the entire suite was recorded in 2009 and released a year later, this section was composed for our first concert with Chano Dominguez and the Flamenco Jazz ensemble in February, 2003. Dedicated to the great festival in the Basque region of Spain, I took a 4 year course in Spanish music in a week of hanging with Chano. He is a troubadour, bard and teacher as well as a conservator, communicator and innovator. He taught and played with our Juilliard students this year and showed up for some classes he wasn’t even scheduled to teach! Chano is absolutely for real about music in all of its functions.   Keep reading »