“What is an arranger” reviewed by the New York Times


When Wynton Marsalis goes onstage tomorrow in an outlandish outfit — say, a pink shirt, yellow pants and a purple tie — he’ll be making a statement. Not a fashion statement, but a statement about arrangement.

“We use a lot of analogies,” explained Mr. Marsalis, artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, describing a typical Jazz for Young People Concert. In tomorrow’s program, the first such concert of the season, he also plans to “talk about a peanut butter sandwich with anchovies.” But while Mr. Marsalis’s sartorial and culinary selections might be bad (or at least bizarre) arrangements, he and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will play many good musical ones. They will serve the theme: “What Is an Arranger?”

Mr. Marsalis expects to include some of Count Basie’s music and “Limbo Jazz” by Duke Ellington. He may also do variations on a nursery rhyme and will offer no fewer than six on “Yankee Doodle.”

“If I’m teaching you about registers, I’ll have a tuba and a soprano sax and a trombone and a trumpet,” he said. “Let’s say I change the rhythm, and I’ll make ‘Yankee Doodle’ into a march. Then what if I change it to swing?” Over the phone he then scatted several lines of a swing “Yankee Doodle.”

Those who would like to hear more of Mr. Marsalis can look forward to the family series “Red Hot Holiday Stomp,” Dec. 14 through 16. The program, which includes his own arrangements of holiday tunes, will center on the orchestra’s relationship with Santa Claus, who asked it to play at the North Pole one year. Mr. Marsalis admitted that some of his anecdotes are a bit embellished. But, he said, “I didn’t make up the part about being invited to play.”

“What Is an Arranger?,” tomorrow at noon and 2 p.m., and “Red Hot Holiday Stomp,” Dec. 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 2 and 8 p.m., Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway and 60th Street; (212) 721-6500; Tomorrow, $12, $17 and $32; “Holiday Stomp,” $30 to $120.

by Laurel Graeber
Source: The New York Times

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