A lovely evening of jazz

What can a trumpet player who is considered by many to be the most important jazz musician of the ’80s play? Anything he wants.

Wynton Marsalis has been hailed as a musical phenomenon since his early teens, when he first appeared as soloist with the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra.

He is the only instrumentalist in musical history to receive Grammy awards for both classical and jazz albums in the same year, a feat he accomplished twice in a row.

He prefers to describe himself as a jazz musician who also plays classical music and he is devoted to the traditions of jazz.

Last night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the Wynton Marsalis Sextet entranced an audience of jazz aficionados with a program of remarkable music.

Take jazz as played by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. Stir gently and filter through six remarkably talented and hard-working musicians.

The resulting blend is something that could be described as neo-Dixieland. That’s what we heard and, oh my, but it was lovely.

Marsalis, of course, was technically brilliant. At 28, he is also fulfilling his own prophecy of some six years ago that, as he matured, he would have a better grasp of the emotional aspects of the music.

Occasionally criticized for being too cold, too distant, anyone who heard his exquisitely soulful rendition of Body and Soul or the sizzling take on Cherokee knows this is no longer a problem.

Great original material from Marsalis (The Majesty of the Blues; Down Home with Homey) and pianist Marcus Roberts (Deep in the Shed). Phenomenal bass playing from Reginald Veal. Stunning support and solos from Herlin Riley, drums; Todd Williams, soprano and tenor saxophones; and alto player Wes Anderson.

What a band! What a night! It was over much too soon.

by Renee Doruyter
Source: The Province

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