Men In gray | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Men In gray 

Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis plays at Duke

The anticipation of a great performance was evident in Duke's Page Auditorium lobby last week, and it was a testament to the power of jazz. The crowd was multi-generational--there were grandmothers and grandfathers, fathers, sons and daughters, and students from high school and college. A young patron told his father how much he'd been looking forward to hearing the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and especially their leader, Wynton Marsalis.

The 15 men in Brooks Brothers gray didn't let that young man down, or the rest of the sold-out house.

As an emcee and bandleader, Marsalis has a dry style. He lets the band do the talking, as they did on "Vitoria Suite," Movement III. Victor Goines on sax and Andre Hayward on trombone fired off beautiful solos. The band has power, but they also have control and finesse.

Sax soloists Joe Temperly and Goines and pianist Eric Lewis played "Rhapsody in Blue" with fresh enthusiasm. There's something about the band's energy and passion that says they're having fun, and the audience was responding with nodding heads and tapping feet.

The orchestra celebrated Rocky Mount native John Coltrane's birthday with "Song of the Underground Railroad." Though each soloist presented a different personality in his solo, all kept within the context of the emotionally demanding piece. They closed the first half with "Bye Ya".

A small ensemble opened the second half. "Free to Be" allowed Marsalis and saxophonist Wes "Warm Daddy" Anderson to stretch out, New Orleans-style. Little did we know that the title of this tune was setting up the theme for the second half of the concert.

Wynton introduced and explained the piece that was to take up the bulk of the rest of the program, "Evolution of the Groove." He said that there were five movements to this original, which he penned along with Herlin Riley, the group's animated drummer. Each movement had its own personality, Marsalis explained: one movement was swingin', one had a mellow feel to it, there was a tambourine part in one, and some was in 7/4 time. Got that?

When they were done with the "Evolution of the Groove," I saw grandfathers and kids clapping, juking, and stomping in 7/4 time. Who knew!? The packed house was having fun. Riley was the best tambourine player I've seen outside of a down home Baptist church.

For an encore, Marsalis called out Coltrane's "Resolution," and Goines blew the house down on sax, while Lewis cut loose and had way too much fun playing all around the bea --he was in the moment and enjoying himself while he teased, tickled and rolled around in the music.

There's been some discussion about the nature of Marsalis' attitude about jazz and where it's going. Lewis addressed it simply. "Jazz is all about what you're playing now," he said. "Unless you're playing in the moment and playing with all of your heart and soul, there isn't a future."

Marsalis showed his roots when I shared with him that I had a tape of his group's performance a few years ago in Durham. "Keep it," he said. "Now if you have some tapes of Pops (Louis Armstrong), send me those!" EndBlock

More by Brett Chambers

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

I am very impressed with the jazz musician Al Strong. I started checking him out years ago at Humble Pie …

by Radio Clash on Al Strong is at the epicenter of a Triangle jazz revival. And his debut LP, LoveStrong Vol. 1, is a treat. (Music Feature)

Funny how you're using Gram Parsons brass buttons to describe his look, I was thinking the same exact thing before …

by Laurel Benner on The quiet chemistry of Carrboro's Mandolin Orange (Music Feature)

Most Recent Comments

I am very impressed with the jazz musician Al Strong. I started checking him out years ago at Humble Pie …

by Radio Clash on Al Strong is at the epicenter of a Triangle jazz revival. And his debut LP, LoveStrong Vol. 1, is a treat. (Music Feature)

Funny how you're using Gram Parsons brass buttons to describe his look, I was thinking the same exact thing before …

by Laurel Benner on The quiet chemistry of Carrboro's Mandolin Orange (Music Feature)

I spotted Ivan at Pie Pushers before the Bon Iver show in Durham this past Monday night and wondered what …

by Shocka Kahn on With the Rosebuds, Ivan Howard Inspired a Generation of Triangle Musicians. So Where Did He Go? (Music Feature)

I was a sophomore in high school when I was introduced to John McLaughlin via the Birds Of Fire album …

by Anthony Richards on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

i was born in the 60s and i know him well,... i hope we keep him close in the memories …

by Cee Will on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation