“As long as there is democracy, there will be people wanting to play jazz because nothing else will so perfectly capture the democratic process in sound. Jazz means working things out with other people. You have to listen to other musicians and play with them even if you don’t agree with what they are playing. It teaches you the very opposite of racism ands anti-Semitism. It teaches you the world is big enough to accommodate us all.”
Wynton Marsalis was appointed Messenger of Peace in 2001 by Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and has been designated cultural ambassador to the United States of America by the U.S. State department through their CultureConnect program. In 2009, he was awarded France’s Legion of Honour, the highest award bestowed by the French Government. Wynton serves on former Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu’s National Advisory Board for Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, a national advisory board to guide the Lieutenant Governor’s administration plans to rebuild Louisiana’s tourism and cultural economies and on the city’s Bring New Orleans Back Commission. Wynton became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields in 1977.
Wynton Marsalis conducts educational programs for students of all ages and hosts the popular Jazz for Young People concerts produced by Jazz at Lincoln Centre. He has also written and is host of the video series “Marsalis on Music” and the radio series Making the Music, and is the author of six books. Wynton led the effort to construct Jazz at Lincoln Centre’s new home, Fredrick P. Ross Hall, the first education, performance, and broadcast facility devoted to jazz.
From the program for the performance of the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts University of British Columbia Saturday, March 1, 2014.
The evolution of the big band and where we are today
The performance was preceded with a Chan Centre Connects talk presented by Fred Stride from the UBC School of Music in the Royal Bank Cinema. He talked about the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the evolution of the big dance bands and performance bands to the big jazz bands, the artistic and creative evolution of the big band, and where big bands are today. He observed that the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra was the only and the last of the touring big jazz bands of prominence keeping the performance and new exploration of big band jazz music alive. The cost and difficulty of touring in our world today has meant that big ensemble jazz bands today are local bands.
He talked about what made a big jazz band great. First, great big jazz bands have great players, who have great time and a capacity to swing, and who contribute to the music, and the performance, and the band as a cooperative enterprise. Everyone has a part to play, and plays a part, and plays off and on everyone’s contribution to the experience, and the music, and the performance.
Fred Stride also talked about the Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition, an annual high school jazz festival aimed at encouraging young musicians to play music by Duke Ellington and other various jazz artists. The Vancouver School Board once had three Ellington Jazz Bands
The Ellington High School Band Competition
The Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival competition takes place every May at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Every year, the festival offers a membership package to high school and secondary school band directors around North America and in American schools around the world. The package consists of original Duke Ellington transcription charts, their corresponding recordings by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and other materials.
Each year, a maximum of six Duke Ellington jazz charts are released and auditioning bands must record three of them for competition entry. The audition recordings are then sent to Lincoln Center, where a judging panel picks the top fifteen bands through a blind screening process. For the 2013 competition a new selection process was introduced under which the top 3 bands from five regions, including community bands, will compete in New York. Once the finalists are announced, clinicians are sent to each of the finalist schools to provide an in-depth jazz workshop and refine the bands for competition. The clinicians are usually members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Along with musical competition, the festival also offers an essay contest for jazz students. Students are asked to compose a 500-word essay that details their experience with jazz music. The winner of the competition is awarded a trip to New York to attend the festival and share their essay with finalist bands. The top three essay finalists are all awarded a variety of items, ranging from jazz recordings to musical scores.
Jazz at Lincoln Centre
In the Spirit of Swing
We believe jazz is a metaphor for democracy. Because jazz is improvisational, it celebrates personal freedom and encourages individual expression. Because jazz is swinging, it dedicates that freedom to finding and maintaining common ground with others. Because jazz is rooted in the blues, it inspires us to face adversity with persistent optimism. Our mission is to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for jazz through performance, education and advocacy.
Jazz at Lincoln Centre
Chan Centre Connects
The Chan Centre Connects series, programmed in conjunction with the Chan Centre’s concert season, features panel discussions, talks, film screenings and master classes to explore global issues and intercultural experiences through the lens of the arts and what impact the arts and artists have on the shared human experience
Chan Centre Connects