African American 
    Jazz Legend
'Wynton Marsalis'

~ Biography of the month~

Wynton Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of American culture.  He is the world's first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full 
jazz spectrum from its New Orleans roots to bebop to modern jazz.

By creating and performing an expansive range of brilliant new music for quartets to big bands, chamber 
music ensembles to symphony orchestras, tap dance to ballet, Wynton has expanded the vocabulary for
 jazz and created a vital body of work that places him among the world's finest musicians and composers.

The Early Years:

Wynton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 18, 1961, to Ellis and Dolores Marsalis, the
second of six sons.  At an early age he exhibited a superior aptitude for music and a desire to partici-
pate in American culture.  At age eight Wynton performed traditional New Orleans music in the Fair-
view Baptist Church band led by legendary banjoist Danny Barker, and at 14 he performed with the 
New Orleans Symphony, various bands and the popular funk band, the Creators. 

At age 17 Wynton became the youngest musician ever to be admitted to Tanglewood's Berkshire Music Center.  Despite his youth, he was awarded the school's prestigious Harvey Shapiro Award for outstand-
ing brass student.  Wynton moved to New York City to attend Juillard in 1979.  When he began to pick
 up gigs around town, the grapevine began to buzz.  In 1980 Wynton seized the opportunity to join the
 jazz Messengers to study under master drummer and bandleader Art Blakey.  It was from Blakey that
 Wynton acquired his concept for band leading and for bringing intensity to each and every performance. 
in the years to follow Wynton performed with Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sweets Edison, Clark 
Terry, Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and countless other jazz legends.

Wynton assembled his own band in 1981 and hit the road, performing over 120 concerts every year for
15 consecutive years.  With the power of his superior musicianship, the infectious sound of his swinging 
bands and an exhaustive series of performances and music workshops, Marsalis rekindled widespread 
interest in jazz throughout the world.  Wynton embraced the jazz lineage to gamer recognition for the 
older generation of overlooked jazz musicians and prompted the re-issue of jazz catalog by record com-
panies worldwide.  He also inspired a renaissance that attracted a new generation of fine young talent to
jazz.  A look at the more distinguished jazz musicians of today reveals numerous students of Marsalis ' workshops: James Carter, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Harry Coonick Jr., Nicholas Payton, Eric
Reed and Eric Lewis, to name a few.

Classical Career

Wynton's love of the music of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and others drove him to pursue a career in clas-
sical music as well.  He recorded the Haydn, Hummel and Leopoid Mozart trumpet concertos at age 20.
His debut recording received glorious reviews and won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Soloist
with an Orchestra. "Marsalis went on to record 10 additional classical records, all to critical acclaim. 
Wynton performed with leading orchestras including New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic,
Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchesta, 
Toronto Sympony Orchestra and London's Royal Philhamonic, working with an eminent group of con-
ductors including: Leppard, Dutoit, Maazel, Slatkin, Salonen and Tilson-Thomas. Famed classical trum-
peter Maurice Andre praised Wynton as "potentially the greatest trumpeter of all time."

Record Production

To date Wynton has produced over 70 records which have sold over seven million copies worldwide
 including three Gold Records.  His recordings consistently incorporate a heavy emphasis on the 
blues, an inclusive approach to all forms of jazz from New Orleans to modern jazz, persistent use of 
swing as the primary rhythm, an embrace of the American popular song, individual and collective im-
provisation and a panoramic vision of compositional styles from ditties to dynamic call and response
 patterns (both within the rhythm section and between the rhythm section and horn players).  Always 
swinging, Marsalis blows his trumpet with a clear tone and a unique, virtuosic style derived from an encyclopedic range of trumpet techniques. 

The Composer

Wynton Marsalis is a prolific and inventive composer. The dance community embraced  Wynton's
inventiveness by awarding him with commissions to create new music for Garth Fagan (Citi Move-
ment-Griot New York), Peter Martins at the New York City Ballet (Jazz: Six Syncopated Move-
ments and 'Them Twos.'), Twyla Tharp with the American Ballet Theatre (Jump Start), Judith Ja-
mison at the Alvin American Dance Theatre (Sweet Release and Here...Now), and Savion Glover
(Petite Suite and Spaces).  Marsalis collaborated with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society
 in 1995 to compose the string quartet At The Octoroon Balls, and again in 1998 to create a re-
sponse to Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale with his composition 'A Fiddler's Tale'.

To be continued.......