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Monday, May 18, 2020

Wynton Marsalis: the making of a jazzman

Today's edition of the BBC World Service's Outlook programme was devoted to arguably the world's most famous jazz musician - Wynton Marsalis. In conversation with presenter Emily Webb*, Wynton spoke about his childhood years (years during which the young Wynton didn't care too much for jazz), his siblings including brother Branford, forming a funk band at thirteen, later winning a place at Julliard.

Wynton with Blakey (heard briefly with the Jazz Messengers in concert in Japan, 1982), Wynton going his own way (his tenure with Blakey was remarkably short), Wynton with father Ellis, Wynton in New York at the time of Ellis' death. A virtual funeral parade, Wynton continuing to perform lockdown sessions from home. It had been a fast-paced introduction to a great trumpet player and life-long advocate of the music. 

Introducing the programme presenter Webb urged the programme's non-jazz fan listener not to be deterred, not to switch off. Closing the programme Webb said: I hope we've converted you and thanks for listening. How annoying! If the subject had been a classical, folk or pop musician would a similar plea have been made to the non-classical, non-folk or non-pop music listener? Answer, emphatically: No!    
Russell

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