This week, we're taking take a look at, and a listen to, a single extended composition: Wynton Marsalis' Swing Symphony," written by the trumpeter to be performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra plus a full symphony orchestra. Completed in 2010, the work was premiered by Marsalis, JaLCO and the Berlin Philharmonic in June of that year. That concert was broadcast by PBS here in the USA, and Swing Symphony" subsequently has been performed a number of other times, most notably in New York, Los Angeles and London.
Now St. Louis listeners will get a chance to hear Swing Symphony" in person, as Marsalis and JaLCO are headed here to perform it with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra next Saturday, October 20 at Powell Symphony Hall.
In the first clip up above, you can hear Marsalis and the Berlin Philharmonic's conductor Simon Rattle talking about Swing Symphony" in a conversation with composer and journalist Catherine Milliken, recorded in conjunction with the work's premiere.
Down below, you can see and hear that complete premiere performance of Swing Symphony" from 2010, featuring Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Rattle. Below that, you can see Marsalis alone, talking directly to the camera about composing Swing Symphony" in four segments that were recorded shortly after the Los Angeles Philharmonic performance.
For more about Wynton Marsalis' Swing Symphony," check out this review of American premiere in September 2010 by the New York Philharmonic, and this one of the Los Angeles performance in February 2011.
And if you haven't got your tickets yet for next Saturday's performance, you may be interested to know that the SLSO is offering a 20% discount on the remaining seats. You can get the details on that discount offer here.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.