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Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents "Celebrating Joe Temperley", From Duke To the JLCO
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Jazz at Lincoln Center


Celebrating Joe Temperley: From Duke To the JLCO

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director
Greg Scholl, Executive Director

Frederick P. Rose Hall
Rose Theater
Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center

Featuring Joe Temperley on Baritone Saxophone

Wynton Marsalis, Music Director, Trumpet
Ryan Kisor, Trumpet
Kenny Rampton, Trumpet
Marcus Printup, Trumpet
Vincent Gardner, Trombone
Chris Crenshaw, Trombone
Elliot Mason, Trombone
Sherman Irby, Alto Saxophones, Flute
Ted Nash, Alto Saxophones, Flute
Victor Goines, Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Walter Blanding, Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Paul Nedzela, Baritone Saxophone
Dan Nimmer, Piano
Carlos Henriquez, Bass
Ali Jackson, Drums

Zooey T. Jones, Director, Public Relations
Christina Riley, Associate, Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 18, 2015

Once again Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performed a riveting, informative, and poignant concert, this time a tribute to its longtime baritone saxophonist, Joe Temperley. Mr. Temperley, born in Scotland, arrived in New York in 1965 and played in the bands of Woody Herman and Buddy Rich, before touring and recording with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He’s an original member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) and is on the faculties of Juilliard Jazz and Manhattan School of Music. This special event, which I could have listened to all over again, as soon as it ended, included moving, spoken tributes by members of JLCO, each of whom had arranged or composed a work that epitomized Mr. Temperley’s personality, style, and repertoire. In almost all cases, Mr. Temperley, who no longer travels with the Orchestra (he’s 85), joined for a solo turn, and, in one case, created one of the most exquisite, solo musical performances I’ve ever heard (Ellington’s “The Single Petal of a Rose”. Mr. Marsalis opened each of the two sets of the evening with humorous and loving comments and also composed the five-movement “Joe’s Concerto”.

Duke Ellington’s “Creole Love Call” was arranged by Victor Goines, who spoke first, with fondness and respect for his fellow saxophonist. Marcus Printup was on muted trumpet for this piece, that included a trio of saxes, including Mr. Goines, Paul Nedzela (Mr. Temperley’s protégé), and Mr. Temperley. Vincent Gardner exuded exoticism in a trombone solo. Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “This Time the Dream’s On Me” was introduced by the work’s arranger, Ted Nash, another fellow saxophonist. Mr. Nash provided solos for Mr. Marsalis on trumpet and Dan Nimmer on piano. Mr. Nash and Sherman Irby were on flute solos for this gorgeous tune. Christopher Crenshaw’s own composition, “Noah Built the Ark”, from his longer work, “God’s Trombones”, included Mr. Marsalis’ staccato trumpet as laughing townspeople, as Noah had insisted the ark would survive the storm and floods. Ali Jackson, on drums, whipped up the wind and thunder. Walter Blanding, once again a fellow saxophonist of Mr. Temperley, arranged and introduced Oscar Pettiford’s “Tricotism”, with its ebullient, big band sound. Mr. Temperley finally, at this moment, took a long, sumptuous solo, with enormous crowd appreciation. Carlos Henriquez, on bass, also riffed with the pulsating rhythm.

Sherman Irby was next, with a warm tribute, and he introduced his arrangement of his own composition, “The Shores of Mount Purgatory” from his ballet, “Inferno”. Mr. Temperley had a generous spotlight solo with smooth tempo and tone. I noted that the music sounded like a foxtrot, classy and charming. The big band sound infused the Hall with spirited melody. Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and George Duvivier’s “Very Saxy” followed, in another arrangement by Mr. Irby, for five saxes, with Walter Blanding stunning the crowd in a wild sax solo. Mr. Marsalis’ “Joe’s Concerto” included movements for all of Joe Temperley’s moods and motifs. The first, “Country Soul”, was rambling and bucolic, with flutes exuding the whistles and horns of trains. The second, called “Continuum”, brought in Vincent Gardner on a bebop, trombone solo. Mr. Marsalis said that both the third and fourth movements would be lyrical and introspective. I heard a wistful waltz and a ballad, with tuneful, soulful harmonies. The sound evoked film noir, romantic mystery and longing. The fifth movement was for Mr. Temperley’s “temper”, about which Mr. Marsalis joked, and, here, the Orchestra went wild. This was quite a meaningful tribute from Mr. Marsalis to the only other original member of his Orchestra.

Duke Ellington’s “Symphonette”, from his “Black, Brown, & Beige”, featured Joe Temperley on the mesmerizing, purely elegant theme. Three muted trumpets made this piece evocative of white tie and tails. Mr. Marsalis also had two trumpets using white waving hats for special sound effects. Mr. Blanding added a gorgeous solo. It should be mentioned that Mr. Marsalis always announces the featured members of the Orchestra, after every piece, for audience recognition. This is an exemplary way to show communal support. At this point, Mr. Temperley had the audience reaching for handkerchiefs, as he played his solo, “The Single Petal of a Rose”, by Ellington. Mr. Temperley held his breath endlessly, as languorous notes whispered in space. Mr. Nimmer was the only accompanist, on soft, ambient piano. The melody is sublime and surreal, as was the moment. There was a standing ovation and a solo encore, before this incredible evening came to an end. Kudos to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and kudos to Joe Temperley.

Joe Temperley on Baritone Saxophone
with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Courtesy of Frank Stewart

Joe Temperley on Baritone Saxophone
with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Courtesy of Frank Stewart

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at