Hour 5: Presenting Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

To many, Wynton Marsalis’s big band, Jazz at Lincoln Center, founded in 1987, is the face of jazz. With an international touring schedule, they have kept alive the tradition of big band jazz while recording an admirable series of discs. Yes, they record their share of classic jazz, but more than a museum of antique music, Jazz at Lincoln Center also commissions inspiring new repertoire for large jazz ensembles. And it can be thrilling to hear music of heroes like Ellington performed as it was composed – for large ensembles of total pros.

Young Composers – Carlos Henriquez & Christopher Crenshaw
In 2010 Jazz at Lincoln Center travelled to Cuba for a series of concerts that resulted in a live recording released in 2016. The double disc features selections from their repertory, including 2/3’s Adventure by then 31-year-old bassist Carlos Henriquez, featuring trumpeter Marcus Printup.

In 2017, the ensemble performed a suite by their 35-year-old trombonist Chris Crenshaw that explored different angles on jazz in the 1950’s. On the website Medium, Randall Radic wrote of the tune Cha-Cha Toda la Noche, “[It] travels on a sensuous Latin rhythm topped by vibrant tones from the brass section, interweaving with oozing timbres.”

2/3’s Adventure. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
(Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Rampton, Marcus Printup, Vincent Gardner, Chris Crenshaw, Elliot Mason, Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Victor Goines, Walter Blanding, Joe Temperley, Dan Nimmer, Carlos Henriquez, Ali Jackson). From Live in Cuba. Blue Engine. 2016.
Cha-Cha Toda la Noche. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
(Tatum Greenblatt, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton, Wynton Marsalis, Vincent Gardner, Mason, Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Victor Goines, Block, Walter Blanding, Kendrick, Nedzela, Nimmer, Henriquez, Jackson). From Christopher Crenshaw’s The Fifties: A Prism. Blue Engine. 2020.

The Music of John Lewis
In 2013, Jazz at Lincoln Center presented a tribute to their long-time supporter and collaborator, John Lewis, perhaps best known as the long-time pianist and music director for the Modern Jazz Quartet. The concert featured then 27-year-old New Orleans pianist Jon Batiste. On JazzTimes, Mac Randal wrote, “… Batiste’s unaccompanied take on “Django” is … dizzying in its Rachmaninoff-ian romanticism, [and] “Delaunay’s Dilemma” is … satisfying, as Ted Nash’s alto saxophone slyly traces the outer fringes of the harmony.”

Django. Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis featuring Jon Batiste.
(John Batiste-p). From The Music of John Lewis. Blue Engine. 2017
Delaunay’s Dilemma. Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis featuring Jon Batiste.
Wynton Marsalis-tp, Chris Crenshaw-tb, Ted Nash-ts, Victor Goines, Jon Batiste-p, Carlos Henriquez-b, Ali Jackson-d). From The Music of John Lewis. Blue Engine. 2017

Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige Suite
The work of Duke Ellington has been featured by Jazz at Lincoln Center throughout its history. Ellington first performed his Black Brown and Beige suite at Carnegie Hall in 1943 to such mixed reviews that he performed the whole work only once more in concert after the debut, and didn’t record the work until 1958. This is just the kind of work that brings out the best in Jazz at Lincoln Center. The suite is composed of three sections – Black, Brown and Beige. We’ll hear the first three compositions that make up the Black section of the suite, (Work Song, Come Sunday and Light). Altoist Sherman Irby’s lovely performance on Come Sunday favorably reminds us of Ellington’s own Johnny Hodges.

Work Song. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
(Ryan Kisor, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton, Wynton Marsalis, Jonah Moss, Elliot Mason, Kasperi Sarikoski, Sam Chess, Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Victor Goines, Paul Nedzela, Julian Lee, Dan Nimmer, James Chirillo, Carlos Henriquez, Marion Felder). From Black, Brown and Beige. Blue Engine. 2020.
Come Sunday. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
(Ryan Kisor, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton, Wynton Marsalis, Jonah Moss, Elliot Mason, Kasperi Sarikoski, Sam Chess, Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Victor Goines, Paul Nedzela, Julian Lee, Dan Nimmer, James Chirillo, Carlos Henriquez, Marion Felder). From Black, Brown and Beige. Blue Engine. 2020.
Light. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
(Ryan Kisor, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton, Wynton Marsalis, Jonah Moss, Elliot Mason, Kasperi Sarikoski, Sam Chess, Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Victor Goines, Paul Nedzela, Julian Lee, Dan Nimmer, James Chirillo, Carlos Henriquez, Marion Felder). From Black, Brown and Beige. Blue Engine. 2020.

Paul Simon and Members of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Many of the Jazz at Lincoln Center players have their own recording projects and are regularly featured in the work of other artists. When Paul Simon determined to rerecord the barnyard allegory of injustice Pigs, Sheep and Wolves for his career retrospective In The Blue Light, he called on Wynton Marsalis to arrange the tune. The recording features Simon with an octet of players from Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Pigs, Sheep And Wolves. Paul Simon Nonet.
(Wynton Marsalis-tp, Marcus Printup-tp, Chris Crenshaw-tb, Wycliffe Gordon-tu, Walter Blanding-sax, Dan Block-cl, Marion Felder-d, Herlin Riley-tam, Paul Simon-voc/per). From In The Blue Light. Legacy. 2019.

For over thirty years, Jazz at Lincoln Center has been a rigorous interpreter of jazz history and a patron of young artists. They ably represent mainstream American jazz for much of the world.

Resources
Conrad, Thomas. (2019, April 25 – updated). JazzTimes. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis: Live in Cuba. https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/jazz-at-lincoln-center-orchestra-with-wynton-marsalis-live-in-cuba/

Radic, Randall. (2020, April 21) Medium. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis — ‘Christopher Crenshaw’s The Fifties: A Prism.’ https://medium.com/old-pink/jazz-at-lincoln-center-orchestra-with-wynton-marsalis-christopher-crenshaws-the-fifties-a-72d3a04bacad

Randall, Mac. (2019, April 25 – updated). JazzTimes. JALC Orchestra w/Wynton Marsalis feat. Jon Batiste: The Music of John Lewis (Blue Engine). https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/jalc-orchestra-wwynton-marsalis-feat-jon-batiste-the-music-of-john-lewis-blue-engine/

Cornish, Audie. (2019, February 22). NPR Radio – American Anthem. A Sprawling Blueprint For Protest Music, Courtesy Of The Jazz Duke. https://www.npr.org/2019/02/22/697075534/a-sprawling-blueprint-for-protest-music-courtesy-of-the-jazz-duke

Georgievski, Nenad. (2018, September 5). AllAboutJazz. Paul Simon: In The Blue Light. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/in-the-blue-light-paul-simon-smg-review-by-nenad-georgievski.php

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