Tag – you are it!
Jazz royalty Wynton Marsalis was in town last night and he brought along a few of his ‘friends’.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis was Jazz at Lincoln Center without the Lincoln Center. Montrealers and Festival – goers did their best to imitate the punters from New York. In fact – judging by the response to each and every song; Festival – goers were very well versed in Jazz and professional musicianship.
Marsalis narrated each piece between songs and continually introduced the world’s best musicians after they displayed their perfection. Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works, including compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and Charles Mingus were the ‘statues’ and the ensemble on stage – ‘the sculptors’. Handcrafted tools etching, carving and shaping the clay of old into their very own masterpieces. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), is comprised of fifteen of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players working today. Each alone – a headliner at any showcase. Each alone taking turns and adding and subtracting to form the sum of all parts. Tag – you are it.
In an age where musicianship seems to be replaced with studio trickery and marketing, Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra and Marsalis himself are an awakening of sorts. An ear – opening audio experience which transports the listener to another time. An era when a song on the radio meant something special. An era when going to a Duke Ellington concert meant putting on your top hat and your ensuring your lady friend was adorned in a sequined dress. Elegance in the crowd matched the elegance on stage. Marsalis et al brought that elegance to Place des Arts as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival last night.