Music: In Lille, Wynton Marsalis goes back to the sources of jazz

Two reminders in applause provided, the public, between 20 and 60 years old, standing in the auditorium of the Nouveau Siècle, a superb room with 2,000 seats in Lille. Friday October 8, the inaugural concert of the Tourcoing Jazz Festival, decentralized therefore in the northern prefecture, was a triumph. Justified by the quality of the music offered by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) conducted by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. First date of a European trip planned to Saint Petersburg on October 28. Almost a concert every night. For France, after Lille and Paris (October 9), stops at the Nancy Jazz Pulsations festival (on the 13th), at La Halle aux grains in Toulouse (on the 21st), and at the end of the Jazz en tête festival in Clermont-Ferrand ( the 23).

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Fifteen instrumentalists and the support team, in the still uncertainty of changes in health situations and rules depending on the country, this could not be easy. But behind the orchestra, there is Lincoln Center, in New York, some thirty prestigious performance venues and renowned institutions, including Alice Tully Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House, the New York City Ballet, the Juilliard School… And since the end of 1989, the jazz department and its orchestra. “The orchestra’s tour manager is a former soldier, explains Jean-Noël Ginibre, from Loop Productions, in charge of dates in France. They are all vaccinated, some have European health passports, and the rule for everyone is a test every three days. It’s even less complicated than with smaller formations. “

In the luggage of the JLCO there are dozens of scores. Small part of a repertoire of arrangements of standards and compositions by Marsalis, to play, transmit the history of jazz, New Orleans sources in the mid-1960s – programs have been devoted to John Coltrane or Ornette Coleman -, by stopping at the gates of free and jazz-rock fusion. These are compositions by Marsalis, rather recent, which constitute almost the entire program of the evening.

Careful interpretation

Sumptuous overture, with an excerpt fromAbyssinian Mass, commissioned in 2008 for choir and big band. The three parts of the sequence Offered are extended to about fifteen minutes. Fast tempo then slow majesty. First solos, Marsalis, trombonist Elliot Mason, Sherman Irby on alto saxophone, trumpeter Marcus Printup… the approval, smiling, delighted, of all the performers, accompanies a musical brilliance. Follows The Monkey’s King March, taken from The Shanghai Suite, created in 2019 and for the moment unregistered – the current discography of Marsalis, from the small formation to the big band, from jazz to classical music, has more than a hundred albums (physical media or digital files) since 1982. There are, as then, colors à la Duke Ellington, style jungle orchestral suites, the founding relationship to the blues, traces of Charles Mingus (to whom the JLCO dedicated an excellent album in 2005).

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Music: In Lille, Wynton Marsalis goes back to the sources of jazz