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The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Presents "Portraits of America: A Jazz Story" at Rose Hall
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The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Presents "Portraits of America: A Jazz Story" at Rose Hall

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner: Arts and Education


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Jazz at Lincoln Center
www.jalc.org

Presents:

Portraits of America: A Jazz Story

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

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

Wynton Marsalis, Music Director, Trumpet
Ryan Kisor, Trumpet
Kenny Rampton, Trumpet
Michael Rodriguez, Trumpet
Vincent Gardner, Trombone
Chris Crenshaw, Trombone
Elliot Mason, Trombone
Sherman Irby, Alto Saxophone
Ted Nash, Alto Saxophone
Victor Goines, Tenor Saxophone
Camille Thurman, Tenor Saxophone
Paul Nedzela, Baritone Saxophone
Dan Nimmer, Piano
Carlos Henriquez, Bass
Jason Marsalis, Drums

Brian Beasley, Projection Designer
Presented in co-production with:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
www.crystalbridges.org

Zooey T. Jones, JALC Director, Public Relations
and External Communications

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 7, 2019


See a 2007 Review of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Jazz and Art”.

Program: “Of Thee I Sing”, Compositions by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Once again Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) Orchestra performed a riveting, informative, and poignant concert, this time a co-production with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Twelve unique compositions, each by a member of the Orchestra, are inspired by a matching work of art by one of twelve artists included in the Bentonville museum. Each composition bears some similarity in process, style, and complexity, we were told. Progressively revealing photographs of each of the twelve artworks unfolded on a giant backdrop screen, to the rear of the Orchestra. The work that inspired Wynton Marsalis’ musical composition, “We the People”, by Nan Ward, was presented in the finale, a patriotic work with fascinating multicolor shoelaces. The projection designer, Brian Beasley, is a wizard at his craft, as at one point, as the orchestra played vibrantly, it seemed to be lowered into a virtual pond of still water and plants. The experience tonight was ethereal and enriching.

Each of the twelve musician-composers was individually introduced, with Victor Goines presented first with his “Sound of Colors”, inspired by Stuart Davis’ “Still Life with Flowers”, 1930. The piece had pulse with urban trumpet blasts and Carlos Henriquez’ bass solo. Ted Nash and Sherman Irby, on flutes, were followed by trombones. Elliot Mason’s muted trombone meshed with a red, pink, yellow work that evoked Matisse. Mason’s “Summer Day” followed, inspired by Frank Weston Benson’s work, same title, 1911. The projection gave us an extra white-green closeup, and the mellow, somewhat atonal work blended with the artwork that evoked Manet. The piano took lower notes in lovely phrases, and a splash of cymbals appeared in the finale. Marcus Printup’s “Salvation, Serenity, Reflection” was inspired by Carroll Cloar’s “Charlie Mae Practicing for the Baptising”, 1974. The painting, with many greens, white, and purple, envisaged a man in a lake preparing for the ceremony. Bluesy energy abounded in Printup’s music, evoking gospel, and it ends with a ringing bell.

Henriquez’ “The Cycle of Life”, inspired by George Wesley Bellows’ “Two Women”, 1924, included the composer’s solo bass with Dan Nimmer’s poignant piano. The painting depicted two women, in contrasting style and attire or lack of attire. Ted Nash’s “Au Café (Synchromy)”, inspired by Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s painting, same name, 1918, featured Michael Rodriguez on solo trumpet. Abstract colors and shapes turned cubist, evoking a jazz musician. Nash played solo saxophone as well. Sherman Irby’s “A Hot Jam on Grand”, inspired by Grace Hartigan’s “Rough, Ain’t It”, 1949, brought out Mason on solo trombone and Jason Marsalis featured on drums. This dissonant work had pulse and racing rhythms. Next, Christopher Crenshaw’s “Black Balloon”, inspired by Gene Davis’ painting, same title, 1964, featured a muted bass solo and lots of blazing trumpets. Stripes and colors faded into plaid.

Kenny Rampton’s “Mitakuye Oyasin (All Are Related)”, inspired by Thomas Cole’s “Landscape with Indian”, 1826, had Nash on solo flute , with the high point Marsalis’ drums and the Orchestra’s musical momentum to match, very Americana. Paul Nedzela’s “The Tree” (arr. by Henriquez), inspired by Helen Lundeberg’s painting, same name, 1938, brought forth the projection of a wide open farming landscape. Wynton Marsalis’ solo trumpet, in dervish speed and windy strength, was a highlight of the evening, among so many. The composer’s baritone sax shone brightly. Vincent Gardner’s “One Understands”, inspired by Adolph Gottlieb’s “Trinity”, 1962, an abstract black, white, yellow, blue work with circles, featured syncopated drums and muted brass, evocative of Miles Davis.

Walter Blanding’s “For Never and Forever”, inspired by Romare Bearden’s “Sacrifice”, 1941, a work with masked faces in multicolor, evocative of Picasso, featured a prominent bass, drums, and Nimmer’s adventurous piano. As mentioned above, Wynton Marsalis’ “We the People” was presented as the finale to this ambitious, mixed genre program, with the slung multicolor shoelaces in Nan Ward’s work, same name, 2015, in closeup and distant projection. Resounding trumpets and a rolling keyboard played, as the shoelaces spelled out “We the People”. Kudos to Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, kudos to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and kudos to all the visual artists and Brian Beasley, projection designer.




Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Performs "Portraits of America:
A Jazz Story"
Courtesy of Ayano Hisa





Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Performs "Portraits of America:
A Jazz Story"
Courtesy of Ayano Hisa





Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Performs "Portraits of America:
A Jazz Story"
Courtesy of Ayano Hisa





Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Performs "Portraits of America:
A Jazz Story"
Courtesy of Ayano Hisa





Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Performs "Portraits of America:
A Jazz Story"
Courtesy of Ayano Hisa





Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Performs "Portraits of America:
A Jazz Story"
Courtesy of Ayano Hisa


For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net