The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian McBride with special guest Wynton Marsalis
RALPH PUCCI International will host its 5th Annual , “The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian®,” an exclusive two-part virtual event of music and conversation. The JAZZ SET reunites two of the most omnipresent figures and cultural ambassadors of our time: virtuosic bassist, composer and Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival, CHRISTIAN McBRIDE with trumpeter, composer and Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz At Lincoln Center, WYNTON MARSALIS.
On Thursday, March 18, Marsalis and McBride will take the stage at the brand-new RALPH PUCCI (factory) gallery space in New York City, a special setting filled with limited-edition designs, from furniture to lighting to art. Sponsors and VIP ticket holders at the $250 level and up will have an exclusive “backstage concert pass,” with online access to the live taping of The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian®, private conversation and musician meet & greet. On Wednesday, March 31, The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian®, featuring Wynton Marsalis will be livestreamed in its entirety for all ticket holders. (buy tickets here)
All proceeds will benefit JAZZ HOUSE KiDS, an award-winning nonprofit that uses America’s original musical art form – jazz – to transform lives by helping students gain an artistic edge through music, mentoring, education and leadership. The JAZZ HOUSE builds tomorrow’s community leaders and global citizens, and serves all students, regardless of their financial circumstances.
A native son of New Orleans, WYNTON MARSALIS met a young 14-year-old CHRISTIAN McBRIDE when he visited McBRIDE’s Philadelphia high school classroom. Today, they are two of the most influential musicians on the scene, and share a life-long passion for mentoring the next generation of young jazz musicians.
Adding momentum to this year’s JAZZ SET, the legacy of McBRIDE and MARSALIS and their commitment to fostering the next generation of jazz musicians will be on full display. The two will be backed by a quartet of talented young professional musicians who were mentored by both men. All four are alums of both JAZZ HOUSE KiDS in Montclair, New Jersey, where McBRIDE serves as Artistic Director, and The Juilliard School in New York, where MARSALIS has served as director of the jazz studies program since 2014.
“I know Wynton and I are both passionate about the folk tradition of jazz: the music is handed down from generation to generation, and the circle is never broken,” said McBRIDE. “Wynton got a break from Art Blakey; I got a shot from Wynton and we’re paying it forward to these four talented cats and other young musicians.”
The young musicians — ZOE OBADIA on alto, JULIAN LEE on tenor, ISAIAH THOMPSON on piano, and ZACH ADLEMAN on drums — all started at the JAZZ HOUSE in middle school and continued through high school, with a couple returning as teaching assistants at the JAZZ HOUSE Summer Workshop each year and all participate in special alumni projects.
With its award-winning early training, mentoring and apprenticeship programs, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS has served as a stepping stone for many students to attend prestigious jazz programs across the country, including Juilliard, where more than 30 students have attended to date.
A longtime admirer and supporter of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS, MARSALIS is pleased to be part of this year’s PUCCI JAZZ SET benefit.
“JAZZ HOUSE KiDS students consistently impress, not only because of their musical abilities, but also because of their focus, presence and commitment to quality,” said MARSALIS. “…[The organization] is doing more than educating musicians: they are developing cultural leaders – something we desperately need at this time.”
Among his many awards and accolades, was the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio, “Blood on the Fields,” and was appointed a U.S. Messenger of Peace by the United Nations. And while his body of work is enough to fill two lifetimes, MARSALIS continues to work tirelessly to contribute even more to the cultural landscape, in the U.S. and around the world. He also serves as Managing and Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center, which, under his leadership, has developed an international agenda presenting rich and diverse programming that includes concerts, debates, film forums, dances, television and radio broadcasts, and educational activities.
More than an artist of note, six-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist is one of jazz’s foremost intellectuals who, in recent years, has been tapped to take on a series of high-profile appointments, including becoming the Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival. In addition to hosting and producing The Lowdown: Conversations With Christian® on SiriusXM radio, McBRIDE hosts and produces NPR’s “Jazz Night in America,” a weekly radio show and multimedia collaboration between WBGO, NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center that showcases outstanding live jazz from across the country.
is a luxury furniture, lighting and mannequin company based in New York City. What began as a family business in the 1950s fabricating man- nequins has grown to a gallery and showroom regarded as one of the best in the world, with outposts in Miami and Los Angeles.
This is the fifth year RALPH PUCCI has partnered with respected music education organization JAZZ HOUSE KiDS and its Artistic Director CHRISTIAN McBRIDE to turn the New York luxury furniture design gallery into a world-class jazz club. McBRIDE’s past special guests have included Diana Krall, Laurie Anderson, John Pizzarelli and Esperanza Spalding.
This event is always spectacular. That’s why we decided to keep the music playing with our first-ever virtual JAZZ SET,” said PUCCI, president of PUCCI INTERNATIONAL and a huge jazz fan. “We initially thought about postponing this annual winter event, but if there were ever a time to support arts education organizations, it’s now. JAZZ HOUSE KiDS is doing some of its most important work today for its community of students, families and jazz fans alike, and employing hundreds of musicians hit hard by the crisis.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS has doubled down on its efforts to ensure equity and access to world-class music education, support healthy communities through jazz, and celebrate all people with mutual respect, both on and off the bandstand. The JAZZ HOUSE helps young people find their voice, combats isolation and lack of peer-to-peer engagement, provides community and leadership opportunities for alumni, and builds bridges from the African-American roots of jazz to today.