Wynton Marsalis

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bethelbass1, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. I once met jazz great Wynton Marsalis. He is not only a great musician, but he he is a great human being too. I have heard bad rumors about him, but I wouldn't believe them. he was very nice to me and offered encoragement in my jazz playing. Anyone have stories they want to share?
  2. Victor Wooten98

    Victor Wooten98 Guest

    Jul 31, 2003
    South of Heaven...
    Wynton Marsalis is totally awesome, I wish I had the opportunity to meet him.
  3. You're absolutely right - Wynton is a truly wonderful and warm human being, and has done so much over the past 25 years to bring peace to the world, and help alleviate poverty and suffering by preaching the... oh, hang on - I'm thinking of the chap from Poland, er um - whatsisname? I always get those two confused... :rolleyes:

    - Wil
  4. Hmm.
    He's coming to play at USC on Wednesday, but I didn't buy tickets in time. :bawl:

    But, on the other hand, one of my roommates is in the Thornton Jazz Orchestra and will be sharing the stage with him.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    He's a great trumpet player - must be one of the best in the world, technically?

    He has a 'puritanical' view of Jazz though - so he wouldn't accept electric bass guitar as being part of Jazz or as a suitable instrument for playing it - so it's kind of ironic that this discussion is appearing in a bass guitar forum!! ;)
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I don't think they're (all) rumors.
    www.jazzcorner.com has many, many Wynton threads...these DISScussions are pretty heated, too.

    What most Wynton-bashers don't like is this-
    Wynton is very partial to a particular sub-genre of Jazz(Bop-based Hard Bop/Post Bop). That's "OK"...but he & his cronies(e.g. critic Stanley Crouch) berate anything outside their view of what Jazz should be & sound like(key word: "outside").
    They may diss Cecil Taylor because he doesn't "swing"...diss Peter Brotzmann because he doesn't play over the changes, etc.

    The Wynton-bashers believe Jazz should be about experimentation & "going for it"...they contend Marsalis is content playing a kind of Jazz that's now over 50 years old.
    The bashers are upset because Marsalis is an educator; his words matter & carry some weight...so when he tells some kids that so & so is bulls***, they may probably take that to heart vs. using their own ears/minds.

    BTW, the type of Jazz Marsalis plays was the sort of Jazz that was dissed in its day...that's what makes his criticism of today's modern players so ironic(?).

    I like Wynton & own many albums by him...IMO, his '80s-something debut was huge in bringing back a dying Jazz form to the record-buying public.
    Personally, I'm glad there are those willing to continue playing his idea of Jazz; I would hate to think that this style could only be heard from records. It is still a LIVE artform...I'm thankful for that.

    What I don't like is Wynton's criticism of anything "outside" his notion of "What Jazz should sound like".
    IMHO, that's self-defeating.
    But whadda I know.
  7. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I had an old jazz magazine article that had just the kind of comments that make people mad at him. Basically he's a fantastic musician and he's also a big troll. He basically said in this article that rock and other forms of music besides jazz are for uneducated people and people that play that kind of music only do so because they can't play/don't understand jazz. Wish I still had the article so I could quote rather than summarize but that was a while back.

    He also had some harsh things to say about musicians who try and mix hip-hop and stuff into jazz and acid jazz. I found that one particularly interesting considering his brother, Branford's, two Buckshot LeFonque albums.

    Personally I generally prefer Branford, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis's music to Wynton's. And that's not just a personal thing.

    brad cook
  8. In one interview* I heard him say that Rap isn't real music. Then the interviewer asked him how he could justify this statement, and he responded, "It's got no bridge."

    :meh: Something to think about.

    To each his own.


    * The interview was on BET, but I don't remember on which program. Sorry, people.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I heard him say that he didn't think any music with a back beat was worth listening to!

    But these are all his opinions - I've met a lot of Jazz players who think similar things - e.g. that Stevie Wonder's music is crap!

    Nobody plasters their opinion all over the place though! :meh:

    So - he's into a certain type of Jazz and Classical music and not much else - so what?

    If people don't want to hear his honest opinion, then they shoudn't ask him - or rather shouldn't bother to read or listen to his interviews.... it's his loss!

    {PS I can kind of see the point of the rap thing - so he's saying that it just repeats a few bars and has no structure - it's going nowhere. That's how I tend to feel about it personally - no melody, not much harmony and no structure - which are all things I like in music)
  10. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I love to listen to Wynton play, but if I ever see him in an interview, I immediately turn the page, or turn the channel/station.

    After hearing how he nearly started a riot at Berklee with comments like, "White people have no business playing jazz," I try to avoid his opinions.

    Suprisingly, his father, Ellis, is one of the nicest, most open people I've met. When I saw him at the NO Jazzfest this year, he actually gave part of his set to three high school students who tore the roof off the place--and they were all white.

    I guess Wynton didn't get his prejudices from his dad.

    And, honestly, to me, the concept of "jazz" stuck in 1950 is anathema of what jazz should be. To discount everything that doesn't conform is shortsighted.

    Unfortunately, with one of the bigger mouths in jazz, Wynton has given the mainstream world the impression that all jazz musicians think like this. They don't see Miles stretching boundaries, or even Branford Marsalis with his work with Sting corssing over to expand what jazz can be.

    Wynton really knows his stuff. Unfortunately, he is very myopic in vision.
  11. I recently listened to a press release from Wynton about funding for music education. When asked how he felt about white people playing jazz he said that the culture in which we grow up affects us. He thinks white people can't play jazz as well because we haven't grown up with it. I partially agree. If I had grown up playing with Art Blakey and other great musicians (not to mention his family) I would probably be a great musician. It's Funny how life works.
  12. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    White people can't play jazz? Tell that to Bill Evans.

    Black people can't play golf or tennis because they haven't grown up with it. See how stupid that sounds?
  13. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    as trumpet being my main axe, one of my biggest influences is wynton along with miles, woody shaw, freddie hubbard and randy brecker.

    i have a talk show recorded (McLaughlin or Laughlin Live) and he dogged Miles big time (selling out). to dog miles davis like that is an act of hubris. it really broke my heart to hear wynton talk like that when he was clearly influenced by miles.

    how disrespectful

    getting to his playing, live at blues alley is my fav. what they did with autumn leaves was truly hip.
  14. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Funny, I'm white, and I grew up listening to Ella, Basie, Sam Taylor, Stan Getz (oh, wait, he's white, too), Duke, etc, etc, etc... He's just an a$$
  15. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Solid assessment.

    brad cook

    Edit: Except that I would probably add 'racist' in front of 'a$$'
  16. He's an interesting character.
    He is incredibly talented and is very nice in person. If you ever get a chance to hear his septet pay the price. it is some of the best jazz you will ever hear.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I saw Wynton years ago at the Barns at Wolftrap, he had Stanley Jordan opening for him, when Stanley first hit the scene. Easily the most boring concert I've ever been to. I played trumpet for a long time and was really interested in hearing what the buzz was about. What I saw was a workman-like performance by a group of guys who looked like they woould've rather been somewhere else. Probably just an off night. Couple that with Stanley's one tone and no dynamics thing and I couldn't wait to leave.

    The rants got old a looong time ago. It's obviously his right to slag on Herbie or Miles or whomever. Maybe it's safe and warm living in a box.
  18. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    On a side note didnt he play the 'Grand Russian Fantasia'?

    He is supposed to be pretty Racist from what I heard, but I like his music. I'd agree with this the most.

  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I hear lots of people attributing vague sentiments to him - I'd like to see the actual words he said in each case, before making a judgement.

    I've seen a few documentaries where he only said perfectly reasonable things - I think people want controversial stuff and he's probably quoted out of context a lot to make sensational copy - other wise there would be no "story" !! :rolleyes:
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Do a search:rolleyes:


    I doubt it would be very hard to find lots of Wynton quotes through Google, etc. In context a lot of what he's said sounds very closeminded.

    Do you "want" to think he's being quoted out of context, so others can "make" him controversial?

    Or maybe he's just trying to "protect" Jazz.