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Wynton Marsalis


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Wynton Learson Marsalis (born October 18, 1961) is a trumpeter, composer, teacher, music educator, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, United States.
Marsalis is the son of jazz musician Ellis Marsalis, Jr. (pianist), grandson of Ellis Marsalis, Sr., and brother of Branford Marsalis (saxophonist), Delfeayo Marsalis (trombonist), Mboya, and Jason Marsalis (drummer).
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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.

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 participate in American culture.


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  • MisterJunior

    Wynton's brand of jazz is a "museum piece" because he rejects the advancements made by the Free Jazz and Fusion guys of the 60s and 70s, not to mention the work done by the Avant-Garde since that time. Not to say that some of those advancements didn't end up being something of creative dead ends, but to reject the groundbreaking work of artists like Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Derek Bailey, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and of course John Coltrane -- as well as many others -- as "self indulgent bullshit" and to basically play only forms from the 20s through the early 60s is ridiculous, disrespectful and antithetical to good art's purpose of forging ahead and breaking new ground. Conservatism and contentedness and being completely beholden to old styles and ideas are deathblows to worthwhile art of any kind, and they're the qualities that best describe Marsalis, Stanley Crouch, etc. Marsalis has all the talent in the world but no guts, soul or desire to try anything new, which is sad.

    Yesterday 6:53am Reply
  • OcellatedGod

    the uncle tom of jazz. [2]

    15 Sep 2014 Reply
  • DavidSmith98

    That's not to say fusion is bad, or Jazz isn't relevant, or anything like that. But in terms of peak popularity - 1920 to 1965 is pretty much spot on. Rock and roll took over from 1955-2000? I think Pop and Hip-hop/rap are most popular now. so sad.

    16 May 2013 Reply
  • DavidSmith98

    Jazz was a museum piece before Wynton. Fusion took it off the map - jazz hasn't been competitive for "most popular music genre" status since Kind Of Blue. People like Herbie Hancock, good as he is, haven't dictated popular culture or reflected the times in the same way that Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman or Louis Armstrong did.

    16 May 2013 Reply
  • granpubah

    Raul's take on Wynton is factual and a sad commentary on Wynton. Wynton is a very narrow minded man. He is an accomplished and awesome player which makes is opinions all the more depressing.

    20 Apr 2013 Reply
  • homagno

    ¿Y cómo te digo que te amo?

    15 Apr 2013 Reply
  • iKidiKid

    RaulLipschitz, your merely an opinion. I love Wynton's knowledge of history, the pride behind the art form. To me, no one has come off more passionate about Jazz.

    7 Dec 2012 Reply
  • RaulLipschitz

    Well, if you'll look around you, you will notice that all of these young musicians who came up under Wynton's tutelage - or adhered to his so-called definition of jazz - have now rejected his ideas and have finally gotten out from under him. Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove, Christian Mcbride: they have all entered into the realm of electricity (which Wynton dismisses) as they are interested in becoming more culturally relevant than he is. Ah, I hate to say this, because i love straight-ahead jazz, but.....4/4 swing is not the rhythm of our time, nor culture....and he knows it! So, why the charade??? Whatever. Wynton is not the "savior of jazz" or the "keeper of the flame" that everyone says he is - No.....he's just some old guy cradling a burnt-out matchstick. ha. (sorry...i know this is all hyperbole, but maybe somewhere in there lies the point that i'm trying for..)

    2 Jun 2012 Reply
  • RaulLipschitz

    Wynton Marsalis has been the worst thing to happen to the music in years. The great dictator of improvised retro-futurism. He's turned jazz into a living museum people, come on! But whatever.... it will all die soon enough, and then...when it does, Lincoln center will be it's tomb. And when wynton finally goes, they'll put him on display in the LC lobby (you know, like they did with Lenin in Red Square). Das Vidanya, Jazz. Thanks for the memories.

    20 May 2012 Reply
  • Melpomene_24

    C'est Magnifique

    7 Jan 2012 Reply
  • bonzoWhale

    How is Marsalis not innovative? Granted, he goes back to basics, but he takes the classics beyond that. Just look at the Vitoria Suite, what a way to merge two cultures musically! Not to mention what they did live in those concerts, drawing from several North and South American cultures to do something quite unique... That's definitely some serious innovation.

    4 Dec 2011 Reply
  • RonZol


    17 Nov 2011 Reply
  • spincat

    It's interesting what SoulJazzsterInc has said that there are the innovators and the classicists who defend the tradition. He strongly defends the innovation and ironically it is what makes him a traditional guy simply because he defends an OLDER/original innovation (of Jazz) while rejecting a lot of newer ones. Also, I agree about his smug character. It's like he's the guy you don't want to argue with because it'll ruin your weekend completely. P.S. Great musician, nevertheless and love listening to him (play).

    26 Oct 2011 Reply
  • kaly_

    Happy Birthday, dear Wynton !!! <3

    18 Oct 2011 Reply
  • rhinowing

    guy seems like he'd be a republican with this straight eighths thing

    17 Oct 2011 Reply
  • Marcelo_Santh

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    12 Sep 2011 Reply
  • ChinaBuffet

    wynton marsalis is a bitch.

    9 Jul 2011 Reply
  • NuttersaurusRex

    "Couldn't Metallica be jazz? No. Metallica is rock. it is straight eighths." So is the main riff of The Four Horsemen jazz then? It's got a swing feel. What about latin jazz, and bossa nova? It's impossible to set an exact definition for any genre because there's always exceptions, you just know what it is when you hear it. Besides, genres are really just ways of describing certain sounds and musical movements, not something one should aspire to fit inside the confines of. The guy's a hell of a player and has done a lot for jazz but he is also really strict in what constitutes jazz, and that really limits one's creativity. Establishing borders isn't what causes music to progress.

    21 Jun 2011 Reply
  • THXmille138

    the uncle tom of jazz..

    15 Jun 2011 Reply
  • De-La-Lune

    Wynton's music is the definition of classy in musical form.

    25 May 2011 Reply
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