Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jazz still isn't dead

Per my previous post, please don't infer any criticism of Wynton Marsalis, who is a one-of-a-generation level talent and has proven himself to be a world leader in the realm of culture. I think Wynton was brilliant in figuring out how to place jazz on the same level as European classical music among the highbrow rich people crowd that funds institutions like Lincoln Center in New York. The first 60 years of jazz history is well worth the attention Wynton affords it and without an institution like Lincoln Center to fund it we might be left with the interpretations of those extremely nice and well meaning people from Norway, Sweden and Denmark who come to New Orleans every spring and remind us of the way jazz was played 100 years ago. Wynton is a genius and he takes very good care of the world class musicians, many from New Orleans, who populate the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Wynton's generosity as a boss extends to regular onstage nap times for certain members of the entourage. As for the audience at those Lincoln Center events, sitting in those ultra comfy sliding plush seats, who could blame them for experiencing some precious REM moments during the show. All the more reason for not scheduling events like Tribute to Albert Ayler or Miles Davis On the Corner, which might provide disturbing sounds that could jar the patrons from the pleasant dreams that jazz music affords them.
None of the previous observations are meant to reflect on the awesome energy generated by Wynton and the LCJO's masterpiece, Congo Square, which has entered the permanent jazz lexicon for my money. Every time I see that performed it reminds me of the moment at Jazz Fest back when there were night concerts when Wynton finally triumphed over Miles by performing Majesty of the Blues.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Marsalis is still underrated as a trumpet player. Jazz critics and snobs love to berate his create abilities while grudgingly praising his technical chops. Wynton should just invite Jon Faddis, Clark Terry, and Terence Blanchard on stage at Lincoln Center for a "trumpet madness" concert. It probably won't settle any bets, but it sure would be one helluva concert.