The Horn Of Plenty Of Wynton Marsalis
It wasn’t Ellis Marsalis’ idea to push bis boys into music. However, he wanted to give them the opportunity to play if they were so inclined. At 7, his son Branford was already playing piano and clarinet.
However, his younger son Wynton, who was 6 at that time, was more Interested in playing games than music.
In spite of Wynton’s apparent disinterest io playing an instrument, Marsalis decided on the trumpet for his son. Marsalis was then the pianist in trumpet player Al Hirt’s band. He approached his boss regarding what he had in mind. When the discussion was held, it happened that another fair horn player by the name of Miles Davis was there. Davis suggested that Marsalis start the 6-year-old on an easier instrument ignoring Davis’ sage advice, Marsalis persisted. Consequently, the first trumpet that Wynton owned was one passed on to him from Al Hirt.
In an interview earlier this week, Wynton said, “My father is cool. He is not one of those music fathers who makes you practice. For instance, right now my little 7-year-old brother, Jason, who is the most talented of us all, plays drums and violin. As far as my father is concerned, if Jason plays, he plays. If not that’s OK. too.”
Wynton said he began playing music because he was constantly exposed to it “But I really didn’t get Into music until I was 12. Once I got into It I was dedicated.” Which may be an understatement because at 14 he made his debut with the New Orleans Philharmonic. “Occasionally I was used as a substitute with the orchestra. Or if the orchestra needed a fourth trumpet I would be hired.”
Earlier this year Wynton Marsalis made recording history when he won Grammy Awards in both jazz and classical music. This week Columbia Records released his latest jazz album, “Hot House Flowers” (FC 3953)) and CBS Masterworks released his latest classical work, “Edita Gruberova” (IM 39061). Conducting on the classical album is Raymond Leppard, who was the conductor on Wynton’s Grammy Award-winning “Trumpet Concertos album as well.
Leppard will conduct the St Louis Symphony in Marsalis’ classical debut here at Powell Symphony Hall Oct 19-20. Both performances are sold out “This will be the first time Leppard and I have performed together before an audience,”’ Marsalis said.
The trumpeter said he is a jazz performer who happens to play’ classical music and not a classical musician who plays jazz. The techniques are different he said, and he does not mix the two. Either he does a jazz tour or a classical tour.
“In jazz you learn how to hear’ music,” he said, “You listen to the sound of it Because of that it is not hard to play another type of music.’ It is just a matter of getting the technique refined.
“And in jazz the first thing you learn is how to emulate. Consequently, when I began playing classical music, I would get a record out and try to play like the person on that record.” Once he had the part down to his own satisfaction, he would then; make the piece his own.
“In classical music you can establish a style of performing someone else’s music the way an actor might establish his or her own style in a role or in a play. Each person has the same material with which to work, but each has a different way of doing it “And it is not a matter of being aware of doing something distinctive. Music is like any other, art form, whatever you are as an individual is what is going to emerge emotionally and intellectually. I have heard that the more intellect the less emotion a person is suppose to have. It is my opinion that it is the intellect that4 allows a person to understand human interaction on an emotional level.” : Marsalis will celebrate his 23rd birthday the day before his appearance with the Symphony.
by Dick Richmond
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch