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Wynton Marsalis at M&T Jazz Fest

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Wynton Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He is the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum from its New Orleans roots to bebop to modern jazz.

By creating and performing an expansive range of brilliant new music for quartets to big bands, chamber music ensembles to symphony orchestras, tap dance to ballet, Wynton has expanded the vocabulary for jazz and created a vital body of work that places him among the world’s finest musicians and composers.

Born in New Orleans, at an early age he exhibited a superior aptitude for music and a desire to participate in American culture. At age 17 Wynton became the youngest musician ever to be admitted to Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Center. Despite his youth, he was awarded the school’s prestigious Harvey Shapiro Award for outstanding brass student. Wynton moved to New York City to attend Julliard in 1979. In 1980 Wynton seized the opportunity to join the Jazz Messengers to study under master drummer and bandleader Art Blakey.

Wynton assembled his own band in 1981 and hit the road, performing over 120 concerts every year for 15 consecutive years. With the power of his superior musicianship, the infectious sound of his swinging bands and an exhaustive series of performances and music workshops, Marsalis rekindled widespread interest in jazz throughout the world. Wynton embraced the jazz lineage to garner recognition for the older generation of overlooked jazz musicians and also inspired a renaissance that attracted a new generation of fine young talent to jazz.

To date Wynton has produced over 70 records which have sold over 7 million copies worldwide including 3 Gold Records. His recordings consistently incorporate a heavy emphasison the blues, an inclusive approach to all forms of jazz from New Orleans to modern jazz, persistent use of swing as the primary rhythm, an embrace of the American popular song, individual and collective improvisation, and a panoramic vision of compositional styles from ditties to dynamic call and response patterns, Always swinging, Marsalis blows his trumpet with a clear tone and a unique, virtuosic style derived from an encyclopedic range of trumpet techniques.

Wynton Marsalis has won 9 Grammy Awards. In 1983 he became the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical records; and he repeated the distinction by winning jazz and classical Grammy Awards again in 1984. Marsalis went on to win Grammy Awards for 5 consecutive years. Honorary doctoral degrees in Music, Fine Arts, Human Letters have been conferred upon Wynton by over 30 of America’s leading academic institutions including the Manhattan School of Music, NYU, Harvard, Brown, Princeton, Yale, Brandeis, Columbia University, RPI, Amherst College, Howard University, Rutgers University, Bard College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Pennsylvania, and Northwestern.

In 1987 Wynton Marsalis co-founded a jazz program at Lincoln Center. In July 1996, due to its significant success, Jazz at Lincoln Center was installed as new constituent of Lincoln Center, equal in stature with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, and New York City Ballet – a historic moment for jazz as an art form and for Lincoln Center as a cultural institution. In October 2004, Marsalis opened Frederick P. Rose Hall, the world’s first institution for jazz.

Wynton presently serves as Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center and Music Director for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Under Wynton’s leadership, Jazz at Lincoln Center has developed an international agenda presenting rich and diverse programming that includes concerts, debates, film forums, dances, TV and radio broadcasts, and educational activities.

Wynton plays at Jazz Fest on July 17 at 9:30 pm.

Posted On: July 10, 2015
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