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Wynton Marsalis

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(1961- ) Trumpeter Brother of Branford Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis
Image courtesy of Chuck Stewart
From an early age, Wynton Marsalis studied both jazz and classical music. At about the age of eight, he belonged to a children's marching band led by Danny Barker that performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and when he was 14 he performed Haydn's Trumpet Concerto with the New Orleans PO. He attended the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (near Lenox, Massachusetts) and while a student at the Juilliard School he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1980). He toured in a quartet with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams and recorded his first album as a leader (1981). Then in early 1982, he left the Jazz Messengers to form a quintet with his brother Branford, Kenny Kirkland, the double bass player Charles Fambrough, and the drummer Jeff Watts; he also toured with Hancock in 1983 as a member of the quintet V.S.O.P. II. In 1984, he became the first musician to win Grammy awards for both a jazz recording and a classical recording (for his album Think of One (1982) and his recording of trumpet concertos by Haydn, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and Leopold Mozart). Marsalis won great critical acclaim in the early 1980s for his dazzling technique, emotional intensity, and gift for improvisation; his playing is firmly rooted in bop and hard bop and makes no use of free-jazz elements.

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For personal, non-commercial use only. Copying or other reproduction is prohibited.
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