Tune in to the maestro Wynton Marsalis
2017-07-03 10:10:00

Wynton Marsalis (File photo from VCG)

Wynton Marsalis is more or less the face of unique American art form - jazz. An acclaimed trumpeter and composer, his accolades include nine Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize and a National Medal of Arts. On July 2, the 56-year-old jazz legend came to Nanjing Poly Grand Theater with his “Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra” for the China tour. Here, with his impressive appeal and aesthetic, Marsalis sits down with our reporter to talk about jazz.

Your last performance in China was traced back to 16 years ago. Why does it take so long?

I wish it wouldn’t take so long. I hope next time it wouldn’t take that long. We don’t know a lot of promoters. We’re lucky we’re being promoted now. It wasn’t because we didn’t want to come. We’d love to come.

What can you tell us about the music you have chosen to play in Nanjing?

It's the music that represents the things to the history of jazz. In addition to hearing the music, you can get a sense of different thing that the music can do. We also represent the history of the art form. We play some early music, some of our own music, some classics. We play a lot of different music. It’s different, but still the same - feeling.

You don’t like the music in La La Land?

It’s ok. It’s better than nothing. I don’t like the story. There is one black dude in La La Land, but he is the artistic sellout. I don’t like that. I don’t like the symbolism of it. If I make a movie, and I have one Chinese guy... Are you gonna like it?

Any Chinese musician impresses you?

I know the musicians that everybody knows. Lang Lang, Tan Dun... I don’t know Chinese music well enough, but I want to meet more and know more about the traditional music. There're impressive musicians everywhere, and every culture produces a few musicians who are very serious. I would like to know them.

Have you ever found it exciting to meld the musical styles of east and west?

Yes. I came across a couple of pieces of Japanese music and some Pakistani music. I would like to learn about the Chinese music. It would be interesting, but I need to have a musician that I know to teach me.

There are always new and trendy stuff in the musical landscape. Are you worried that a ‘classic’ will seem uncool to young people?

There’re always young people. When I was young, I was asked that question: “Are you worried about what’s up for the young people?” No. There gotta be more young people, and these young people will be old. It’s just a matter of education. Every people all over the world wants to educate the young people. We all want to. And we just have to let them know.

What would you say if you are to give a one-sentence secret to youngsters who are interested in jazz and classic music?

The secret of being good musician is to embrace life, and be happy to share what you have discovered with people. We need it as jazz musician.

Contact us at english@jschina.com.cn

Source:jschina.com.cn Author:Wei Xin Editor:Dylan

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