Trumpet master Marsalis doubles as a jazz teacher
NEW YORK – Commerce vs. education – that’s the tug of war influencing the music young people are exposed to. Or at least that’s the view of young trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis.
So Marsalis has decided to throw more weight on the side of education by finding time to give lectures at high schools and colleges amid his busy concert and recording schedule.
“I’m just trying to give (youngsters) criteria to be more objective in their understanding of American musical culture, because a lot of propaganda is involved,” says Marsalis in an interview.
“You know, $5 billion is made every year off the sale of records, and at least $1 billion is put into publicity, I’m sure. Those who are trying to make more billions are not concerned with any kind of cultural education; they never have been.” Marsalis comes across as just a regular guy but he’s also dead serious. He really wants to give young people alternatives to Top 40 radio.
Will they go for it? “I don’t know,” says Marsalis. “But the choice will be there. I don’t tell them what the music should mean to them. I just tell them that music is a medium for expression. It has a history and tradition. Music and culture, in general allows us to see ourselves through the eyes of our most enlightened people, the artists of each generation.
Marsalis sticks to the masters of American jazz he knows and loves, people like Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and, of course, the great Duke Ellington.
“Duke Ellington represents Bach.” says Marsalis. ‘“His place is like Bach’s place in European music. Bach consolidated a lot of the tradition of the music – polyphonic composition, thematic unity, fugal writing, violin pieces, solo recitatives.
By Amy Duncan
Source: Times Colonist