The Michigan Jazz Trail has managed to coral a big bag of holiday joy from Santa’s sled, as they bring to the Saginaw stage contemporary Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis & the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for a ‘Big Band Holiday’ extravaganza at The Temple Theatre on Sunday, December 8that 5:00 PM.
This internationally acclaimed jazz composer, bandleader, and educator joins the Lincoln Center Orchestra for fresh arrangements of timeless holiday classics; and the stage will be set for the entire festivity with a special guest appearance by the Michigan Jazz Trail Big Band.
Joined by vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, Marsalis will add soul and swing to the holiday season with an orchestra that recently topped the Big Band Category in Downbeat Magazines 2013 Reader’s Poll.
In celebration of the their 25th Anniversary tour, Marsalis is touring with the orchestra that he founded back in 1987 with surviving members of the Duke Ellington Big Band and the Wynton Marsalis Septet. This critically acclaimed resident orchestra continues to perform a repertoire across the full jazz spectrum – from the music’s New Orleans roots to bebop to modern jazz. By creating and performing an expansive range of brilliant new music for quartets, big bands, chamber music ensembles, symphony orchestras, tap dance, and ballet, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has decidedly expanded the vocabulary for the entire idiom of Jazz music, and has managed to create a vital body of work over the past 25 years that places the group among the finest musicians performing in the world today.”
“This is an incredibly huge event and a great honor to be able to bring one of the premier legends of our time to the Great Lakes Bay area,” enthuses Michigan Jazz Trail co-founder Molly McFadden. “Additionally, we will be doing a VIP Reception for those purchasing $75.00 tickets; and pricing is reasonably tiered at levels of $55.00, $35.00, and only $20.00 for students.
Born in 1961 in New Orleans, Marsalis received his first trumpet at the age of 6. Two years later he was a mainstay in his church band and by the age of 14 began performing with the New Orleans Philharmonic. Throughout high school music played a pivotal role in his life and at the age of 17 he became the youngest musician ever accepted into Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Following his stint at Tanglewood, Marsalis made a move to New York City, where he attended Julliard School of Music and eventually joined Art Blakey and his band The Jazz Messengers. With such a meteoric rise behind his belt in 1982 Marsalis signed with Columbia Records and released his first album to rave reviews.
Career success quickly followed. Marsalis became the first musician to win Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical recordings for two years in a row; and went on to win at least one other Grammy each year for the next three years.
In 1987 – ever the jazz ambassador – founded Jazz at Lincoln Center, primarily as a series developed with the express goal of broadening peoples’ exposure to jazz music. His role increased each year until he finally led the program’s 15-piece big band in their final performance. He also made his mark as a classical composer in 1995 with a major piece for string-quartet entitled ‘Blood on the Fields’, which won him the `1997 Pulitzer Prize for Music – the first time a jazz musician ever received the honor.
Beyond the Grammys and Pulitizer, Marsalis has received numerous distinctions for both his musicianship and community outreach. He is the recipient of several honorary degrees and in 2005 was given The National Medal of Arts. Additionally, Britain’s Royal Academy of Music awarded him Honorary Membership; and in 2009 he was granted France’s highest award – the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
One of my favorite quotes by Marsalis that is emblematic of his many distinctions is the following: “As long as there is democracy, there will be people wanting to play jazz, because nothing else will ever so perfectly capture the democratic process in sound. Jazz means working things out musically with other people. You have to listen to other musicians and play with them even if you don’t agree with what they’re playing. It teaches you the very opposite of racism and anti-Semitism. It teaches you that the world is big enough to accommodate all of us.”
Tickets for Wynton Marsalis & the Lincoln Center Orchestra Big Band Holidays Concert Tour are available by phoning 877-754-SHOW or going online to www.templetheatre.com. Students can enjoy $20 discounted tickets using the code: syntonstudent. Family discounts of 10% are available with the purchase of four or more tickets.
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