Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Arts

The Washington Performing Arts Society Presents: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

Photo by Rachel Levitin

Jazz – and Country/Bluegrass – are the dominant proprietors of modern “Made in America” music and that’s something worth holding on to. In its inception, Jazz defined an era of youth during tumultuous times. That was its claim to fame. That’s what got it notice. That’s what shot it to the forefront of popular culture during World War II.

Jazz defined an era of uncertainty. It ushered in a voice for the speechless. It provided a musical and mental solace for people who wanted to feel something beyond a war being fought or a job lost or anything besides the monotony of their daily routine. Jazz was the sanctuary and swing was the medium. Throw in a little Blues for a cherry-on-top flourish and by golly you’ve got yourself a true American portrait – an American testimonial.

If Jazz was personified, its equivalent would be akin to the likes of the always effervescent, charismatic, and talented Louis Armstrong. The New Orleans trumpet player, born in 1901, wasn’t the first Jazz trumpet player in the history books but he is an icon of the genre. Wynton Marsalis is a Louis Armstrong for the new millennium. Continue reading

Entertainment, Music, Special Events, The Features

Wynton Marsalis jazzes up the Kennedy Center

Photo courtesy of
‘Sketches of Gill Evans’
courtesy of ‘vitelone’

The affection was clearly mutual:  hundreds of arts advocates stood on their feet, applauding wildly for a full ten minutes. Jazz virtuoso Wynton Marsalis, flanked by a five-man band, stood staring back at them, tears streaming down his face. He has just spent an hour weaving the tale of music, art and American cultural identity, rendering all present effectively speechless. 

Last night at the Kennedy Center, Marsalis gave the Nancy Hanks Lecture, the evening component of the 22nd annual Arts Advocacy Day, organized by Americans for the Arts. The lecture was established to honor Nancy Hanks, former President of Americans for the Arts and chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, and has featured many of the bright lights of the arts, including Maya Angelou, Dr. Billy Taylor and Robert Redford

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