Wynton Marsalis Revives Acoustic Jazz (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis galvanized the jazz world with an acoustic approach to improvisation that explored new directions while drawing on jazzdom’s great stylistic traditions.
Summary of Event
In 1980, jazzdom was in crisis. Having been marginalized by the commercial dominance of rock and roll, funk, and fusion (a hybrid musical form combining the rhythms of rock with mostly tepid and clichéd improvisations), jazz seemed to exist only at the fringes of the music world.
Yet 1980 also saw the emergence of a bright young man with a horn, a seemingly mild-mannered youngster who studied at the Juilliard School of Music during the day and then blew up a storm with jazz legend Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers at night. That young man, trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis, though only eighteen at the time, was destined to become one of the most important voices in American music. He was also destined to become the single most influential figure in jazz during the 1980’s and, arguably, the 1990’s as well.
Marsalis’ central place in the contemporary jazz pantheon stems from several interrelated sources: his extraordinarily virtuosic playing; his outspoken efforts to position jazz as America’s most profound and significant musical art form; his tireless and wide-ranging activities as a jazz educator; and his rapid rise to the status of celebrity through his early career...
(The entire section is 1953 words.)
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