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Unforgettable Performance by Wynton Marsalis at Segerstrom Hall

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Photo Courtesy of Frank Stewart

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra calmly strolled on to the stage at the 3000 seat Segerstrom Hall and gave the audience a musical history lesson on the music of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Wynton said Basie and Ellington are to jazz what Bach and Beethoven were to European Classical music. The connection between classical music and jazz is well known. The Orchestra played the original arrangements of both Count Basie and Duke Ellington and throughout Wynton gave interesting tidbits about some of the greats who played with both bands such as Jimmy Rushing and Harry “Sweets” Edison.

Wynton Marsalis was born in New Orleans and is the son of jazz musician Ellis Marsalis, Jr. (pianist), grandson of Ellis Marsalis, Sr. and brother of Branford (saxophonist), Delfeayo (trombonist), Mboya and Jason (drummer). He began his classical training on trumpet at age 12, entered The Juilliard School 5 years later at 17 and in 1980 joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He made his recording debut as a leader in 1982, and has since recorded more than 60 jazz and classical recordings, which have won him nine Grammy Awards. In 1983 he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz Grammys in the same year. In 1984 he repeated this feat. He has written six books and 1997 became the first jazz artist to be awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields. In 1987, Marsalis co-founded a jazz program at Lincoln Center. In July 1996, Jazz at Lincoln Center was installed as a new constituent of Lincoln Center.

The Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra is comprised of 15 of today’s finest jazz soloist and ensemble players. The Orchestra tours approximately 30% of the year in a fervent commitment to impart jazz music to all audiences. Hailed as “an extraordinarily versatile Orchestra” by the Los Angeles Times, the JALC Orchestra draws from an extensive repertoire that includes original compositions by Marsalis, Ted Nash and other member of the ensemble, as well as other great jazz composers.

In addition to being the Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis and several other members of the Orchestra are highly committed to education of jazz and very supportive of youth workshops mentoring young and upcoming musicians. We were very pleased to see many young people in the audience who seemed as enthralled and mesmerized as the rest of us. Mom and Dad, if you ever have the chance to see and hear Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra, do not ask you children if they would like to go – just take them. It will be an event they will never forget.

Sharon is a Mom and a Grandmother living in Orange County. She serves on the board of multiple non-profits and is a well-known financial advisor, and Coast Magazine’s Five Star Wealth Management recipient.
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