Wynton Marsalis: “In jazz as in democracy, everyone has their role to play”

the essential After having published in turn “The Ever-Fonky Lowdown” and “Democracy! », Two political hotties of incredible musicality, the virtuoso trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will be this Thursday at the Halle aux grains for a concert event organized by Les Grands interprètes, which will revisit the great moments of an extraordinary career.

Your last two records are a violent response to the current situation in the United States; Do you consider that it is your responsibility as an artist to comment on the torments of the world?

I cannot speak for the other artists, but as far as I am concerned, yes of course, and I will add that, even more than as an artist, it is as a citizen that I think important to speak up. Times are tough in the US, and I know you’ve been through tough months in Europe. Things will get better, I’m sure. We need to stick together and keep playing music to express the truthfulness of our feelings and our hopes.

Jazz has been the soundtrack of many American revolutions. How can often instrumental music say so many things?

Words that do not come from the heart will always have less impact than a sound. If a speech by André Malraux hits the nail on the head, it is because it makes the words resonate in a particular way (he imitates in a funny way the emphasis of the author of “The human condition”) . If I said a text by Martin Luther King, it wouldn’t have the same impact, because he knew how to make words sound better than anyone. A sound can make you dance, make you want to get up, fight, laugh or cry … Have you ever heard a whale’s whine? It’s extraordinary, what a sound can convey …

You said that jazz was a metaphor for democracy …

Jazz is indeed an interaction between several instruments: if one puts itself forward, the others must work together to support it and back it up. If everyone improvises at the same time, it can only make noise. Swing is this rhythmic balance where everyone has their role to play, as in a democracy.

Are you an educator who likes to talk about the importance of jazz: a form of thanks for the extraordinary gifts you have received?

I never think of it as something I have to do: I do it, that’s all. I think that jazz is one of our greatest victories: it is therefore important to know its history, and what it has brought, in concrete terms, to our lives.

What qualities does it take to lead a group of 09 musicians like the one from the famous Lincoln Center Orchestra who will accompany you on Thursday in Toulouse?

Already, musicians of this caliber do not allow themselves to be led! (laughs) I guess you have to show them and get them to buy into your vision of music. They are so talented that we just have to let the music and the harmony find their space. We will be playing old and new songs: the program will be a celebration of 21 years of music, and the spirit will be very jazz, very “live and let live!” “(” live and let live “, in French)

Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Orchestra ”in concert Thursday 20 October at 20 h at the Halle aux grains (1, place Dupuy). Prices from 20 to 92 € . Information and reservations at 00 61 21 09 00 and on www.grandsinterpretes.com

A monument of music

At 40 years old – he will have blown out his candles on 14 October – Wynton Marsalis is arguably one of the most important musicians in the world. Trumpeter, conductor, prolific composer – he has released over 61 albums and received 9 Grammys, including two in 1983 and 1984 for both jazz and classical – a never-before-seen and unmatched record. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazzman to receive the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for music for his oratorio “Blood on the Fields” . Artistic and musical director of the Lincoln Jazz Center in New York, which he will direct on Thursday at the Halle aux grains, Wynton Marsalis actively supports numerous associations helping the needy, abused women … By bringing jazz to the heart of millions of American households, he never ceased to open his less fortunate compatriots to culture, to elevation of the soul.

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