“The elite”. Is it possible for anyone else to be acknowledged as “the elite” in American jazz as much as Wynton Marsalis could be? The genius signed a contract with Columbia Records when he went to the Juilliard School, and since then has always been the king of jazz.
Wynton Marsalis was born and raised in a musical family in New Orleans, where he was natural-ly able to gain knowledge and excellent skills of both jazz and classical music. He started his career in both of the musical fields, and his outstanding capability can be seen from the fact that he won the Grammy for both jazz and classical music in 1983 when Marsalis was still in his early 20s. Regardless of this achievement, his essential had always been jazz — and he has been able to create his own acoustic jazz expression after carefully exploring his predecessors’ jazz music.
After 1996, Marsalis became the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, a part of Lincoln Cen-ter for the Performing Arts in New York City. Since then he’s been endeavoring to make jazz — the greatest musical gift of the United States in the 20th century — to spread and thrive. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the institution together champions, performs and educates people about jazz and annually organizes concerts that come in such rich diversity. No wonder the jazz ambassador is acclaimed as one of the best and preeminent jazz bandleaders in the United States.
But that’s not it. He released “From the Plantation to the Penitentiary” — a work that was a type of protest — in 2007. Marsalis had been enhancing and embracing flexibility in his works, and this piece included vocals and raps. He also performed with artists like Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan at Jazz at Lincoln Center, collaborated with Pakistan’s finest orchestra Sachal Jazz Ensemble and with Rubén Blades, one of the biggest names in salsa music. Marsalis is overflowing with curiosity and compo-sitional energy, and his wonderful music continues to entertain his audiences.
That Wynton will be performing in Japan — not with The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra but with the quintet. Since his last performance with a quintet was in 1996, this would be the first time in TWENTY THREE YEARS he would be performing with them!
Who are the members of the quintet? Of course they are all prominent and leading figures that have performed with Marsalis before — including jazz drummer Jason Marsalis, who is also Wynton’s younger brother. Since Wynton will be performing with a quintet, instruments include the essential mod-ern jazz instruments. Will this show prove where the jazz legend stands now as a jazz trumpeter? We shall see.