The Jazzcat

Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Jazz Orchestra at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

by on Feb.20, 2008, under News


There are iconic figures in jazz and when you think of them,

most have ascended to a higher source. 

That is why it is so important for each generation to pass on the torch

so that the flame and passion for this music never dies.  Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, under the tutelage

of a family dedicated to the preservation and exploration of this music has

emerged as the “appointed one” to speak, play, read, re-create the music at the

highest level.


He employs a group of youthful like minds that serve to

represent the tradition as well.  Dressed

like Wall Street, these cats walked on the stage and are ready to do

business.  The mergers, acquisitions and

negotiations take place with the stage as their boardroom, the music as their

commodity and the audience as the major stockholders.


Wynton puts the trumpet to his lips and the first sounds

that we hear are those that represent his home, the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans.  The implications are subtle and tremendous as

he plays the Duke Ellington classic “Creole Love Call”.  Love is definitely a key in the vocabulary of

the music and he definitely shows that as he and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra

embody the heart and soul of an entire night devoted to the king Duke Ellington

and his music.


The dedication to the classics are evident as Wynton and the

band run through a beautiful version of “Satin Doll” with Walter Blandley Jr.

featured in this traditionally arranged piece. 

Wynton does not conduct his orchestras from the front of the bandstand.

His chair is in the trumpet section in the rear, which puts the focus on the

sound as an entire entity and not a “star” and his band.


 “Prelude to a Kiss”

featuring Sherman Irby on alto, is sounding so lovely as he delivers the warm

sultry tone that the classic calls for. 

Love is definitely a theme and the romance of the days of old are every

so prevalent.  Bodies are swaying, hands

of couples are caressing and it is beautiful how music can take us back in time

to slow dancing and those old feelings of love.


“Moon over Cuba” another tune arranged by Duke and written

by one of his band members emphasizes joy, happiness and the poignantly

energetic dance of life with solos by Elliot Mason on trombone and Carlos

Hernandez on bass.  The clarinet implies

the festive mood, the percussion provides the attitude and the trumpet and

trombone solos serenade the three ladies: “Lady of Lavender Mist”, “Lady

Mac” and of course the most popular diva herself the “Sophisticated

Lady”. Duke loved all of these ladies each with their own sass, style and

flair; a trilogy of estrogen influenced sweetness! Victor Goines featured on

Clarinet with the first lady, Marcus Printup on trumpet with the second and Joe

Temperly on baritone with the third.


“Old Man Blues” a Duke piece from a movie called “Check and

Double Check”, a fast paced super old school swing with all of the character,

lyrical humor, hustle and bustle of an old black and white film. Mutes, plungers

and hats are the tools used as essential elements that make those horns sing

and swing. Duke wrote a piece for Coolie Williams called “Concerto for Cootie”

featuring trumpet player Ryan Kisor who demonstrates through his technical

facility how that plunger is actually used and singing those phrases.


“Self Portrait of the Bean”, Duke’s tribute is his fine

compadre Coleman Hawkins expresses so eloquently the passion and tender emotion

of the man though a tone and tempo that suggest nothing but love for the man

and his uniquely wonderful sound; classical music if I have ever heard it.  “The Perfume Suite”, a stridish romp set off

by a piano and bass duo and joined in by the percussion of finger snaps, foot

slides, toe taps and hand claps which lead to more of the same by the entire

audience which, I must say, is at capacity tonight here at the Walt Disney

Concert Hall.


On his solo, Wynton turns around and faces the orchestra

seats that visually only see the rear of the performance and serenades their

presence; a thoughtful and kind gesture to personally include everyone in the

music.  The cats proceed with a wonderful

rendition of “Most Indigo” a  1940’s 78 B

side of a record that included “Warm

Valley” and “The Flaming

Sword”.  Ted Nash, a multi-instrumentalist

plays his version of Duke’s “Sultry Sunset” and what would a set of Duke

Classics be without a swinging version of “In a Mellow Tone”.


Joe Temperly, who played with Dukes original orchestra,

remembers “The Queen Suite” for Buckingham Palace and the tour of England as

well as he lays down some spiritual mysticism on bass clarinet which is the

loveliest resonation looming in the hall.


The final piece for the evening was Duke’s “Rocking in the

Rhythm”, and of course this orchestra rocked their version as hard as the

original! They all came back to close the performance with an encore of  “Braggin’ in Brass’


That’s it for another tribute to tradition, don’t miss the

opportunity to listen, hear and experience Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln

Center Jazz Orchestra.

LeRoy Downs

Leave a Reply

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...