Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra Brings Performance And Education To Greensboro
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) is busy at work here in the Triad. The world-renowned band, and its leader, Wynton Marsalis are pursuing their mission to raise jazz awareness through performance and education.
Band members are teaching music students on the UNC Greensboro campus Thursday, and acclaimed trumpeter Marsalis will hold a public talk. He’s influenced an entire generation of musicians, like UNCG professor Brandon Lee. Lee first joined the JLCO as a teenager, and still tours with the group when his busy teaching schedule allows. He spoke to WFDD's David Ford
On his early musical influence:
On his [Wynton Marsalis'] album, Standard Time Volume 2, there was just something about Wynton’s sound that I gravitated toward, especially after I started playing the trumpet. Since then, growing up, trying to find every single record of his, and [I] finally [had] the opportunity to meet him in person when I was fifteen. I mean, everything about the way that I would like to carry myself in the music — I mean he’s just influenced me in so many ways. And that was everything leading up to my going to Juilliard, and playing with Jazz at Lincoln Center.
On Wynton Marsalis’ playing philosophy:
The thing that Wynton is speaking to is the idea that no matter if you’re in the practice room or not, you should approach it as though you are performing, and as though you’re trying to play at the highest level.
On performing in the JLCO;
It’s definitely something to be around musicians that are at such a high level all the time — great thinkers of the music and obviously great players. It’s not about who’s the best person in the orchestra, it’s more about, "What is [alto sax player] Ted Nash going to do tonight?" or "I wonder how so-and-so is going to approach this tune?" because it kind of keeps everybody on their toes. Everyone is capable of basically outperforming the next person. The energy that surrounds the stage is one of not just pride, but it makes me feel personally like, "I’m finally surrounded by a lot of people who — I don’t feel like I’m the best one in the room." Like, I definitely felt like I was the one on the bottom of the totem pole, but it also made me stronger. It made me realize the amount of things that I needed to work on because I have to play with them, and I have to play up to that level. There’s just nothing like having to play with so many incredible musicians.
The Q&A with Wynton Marsalis begins at 3pm Thursday afternoon on the UNCG campus. It’s free and open to the public. The following concert at Lawndale Baptist Church in Greensboro begins at 8pm.