Today In Jazz

Happy Birthday Wynton!

October 18

For over ten years, trumpeter/composer  Wynton Marsalis has been a board member of the NJMH, and today is his 52nd birthday.

One of the most influential musicians to come from New Orleans, Marsalis brings to the music his skills as a virtuoso trumpeter (classical as well as jazz), composer (he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his Blood On The Fields), author, advocate (he was a founder of Jazz At Lincoln Center) and public figure.

Too often lost in the many discussions that surround his various opinions and status as the leader of the largest jazz organization in the world, is the sheer volume of first-class music he has given birth to over the last 30 years.

Marsalis’ early album, Black Codes From The Underground, introduced a new sound and concept to the music that was immediately influential.

Here is his original septet playing some of that music in 1989 – it still sounds fresh:

Of the untold numbers of Marsalis media available currently, this fiery version of Ornette Coleman’s FREE is an outstanding example of the trumpeter’s almost unheard combination of technical control and imagination:

Tavis Smiley interviewed Marsalis a couple of years ago, and it’s worth watching to hear where the music comes from: