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Wynton Marsalis on Blue Note Records and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Hailed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘the finest big band in the world today’, theJazz at Lincoln Center Orchestraand its musical director Wynton Marsalis visit Symphony Hall for one night only with their Best of Blue Note Records concert, on Tuesday 24 June.

In this extract from an interview with journalist Andrew Burton, the orchestra’s Musical Director Wynton Marsalis speaks about the influence of Blue Note Records and explains what audiences can expect from next week’s concert…

I think Alfred Lion, Francis Wolff and the environment they set up [at Blue Note], was incredible. Along with Rudy Van Gelder, the unbelievable sound engineer, they gave artists the opportunity to work on a production and make decisions about how that art would be presented. There was another level of intelligence about what they did and they were very dedicated. They were involved in making recordings of a very high level.

We have a selection of around 40 songs and tend to announce them from the stage. We often include songs such as the Horace Silver classic Señor Blues, Herbie Hancock’s Succotash, Wayne Shorter’s Infant Eyes, Lou Donaldson’s Blues Walk, Appointment in Ghana by Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson’s Inner Urge and Horace Silver’s Peace. Before we play each piece, we’ll give a little history of the songs, which always goes down well with audiences.

The music is very easy to listen to. In the band we have 10 arrangers of music and everybody has a solo slot too. I’m blessed to play with musicians of this calibre and to be with a band that’s matured to the point where they play so well.

Music is evocative of so many emotions. I hope people will feel exhilarated when they hear people improvising, introducing an element of the unknown. I hope they feel engaged by the way the ensemble makes its decisions, about who plays when and how we play together. I also hope they’ll pick up a down-home feeling of soul that’s in the music. It gives you the feeling of an informal conversation. And the feeling of joy and pain that’s in the blues is always a part of our music, as is the joyous uplift of swing which is our principal rhythm.

Andrew Burton’s full interview with Wynton Marsalis can be read online at The Jazz Breakfast.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will be at Symphony Hall on Tuesday 24 June. For full details, and to book tickets, visit theevent page

TheJazzlines Ensemblewill be giving a free pre-concert performance in Symphony Hall’s Café Bar from 6.40pm, following a workshop with musicians from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra earlier in the day.

Listen to the Blue Note 75 album on Spotify