Wynton Marsalis

(Wynton Learson Marsalis)

Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
  • Born: October 18, 1961
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Musician, Composer, Educator, Artistic Director

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Wynton Learson Marsalis is an American trumpeter, composer, teacher, and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has promoted classical and jazz music, often to young audiences. Marsalis has been awarded nine Grammy Awards and his Blood on the Fields was the first jazz composition to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He is the son of jazz musician Ellis Marsalis Jr. (pianist), grandson of Ellis Marsalis Sr., and brother of Branford (saxophonist), Delfeayo (trombonist), and Jason (drummer). Marsalis is the only musician to win a Grammy Award in jazz and classical during the same year.

Quotes About
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Quotes
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A musician's whole life is to listen. Life
As a jazz musician, you have individual power to create the sound. You also have a responsibility to function in the context of other people who have that power also. Power
Because the blues is the basis of most American music in the 20th century. It's a 12-bar form that's played by jazz, bluegrass and country musicians. It has a rhythmic vocabulary that's been used by rock n' roll. It's related to spirituals, and even the American fiddle tradition. Music, Chants & Rapps
Don't settle for style. Succeed in substance.
Don't wish for someone else to do later what you can do now.
Don't worry about what others say about your music. Pursue whatever you are hearing... but if everybody really hates your music maybe you could try some different approaches. Music, Chants & Rapps
Duke Ellington always had a style: original, clean with interesting color combinations. He had an artist's eye.
Ethics are more important than laws.
Even in these times, there are still neighbors that will turn their backs on neighbors.
Everything comes out in blues music: joy, pain, struggle. Blues is affirmation with absolute elegance. It's about a man and a woman. So the pain and the struggle in the blues is that universal pain that comes from having your heart broken. Most blues songs are not about social statements. Music, Chants & Rapps
Generally, when I wake up in the morning I set out a series of problems for myself and I write them down, and when I'm sleeping, my mind solves the problems. When I wake up in the morning, I have more clarity on the issue. Morning
I almost never watch TV, except for '60 Minutes' and pro football. I love Drew Brees, the Manning brothers and the Steelers' linebackers. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I always read all these books about the slaves. My mother is very educated. My father would talk to us like we were grown men. We never knew what he was talking about half the time. Time
I became a man in New York. New York made me the musician that I am and the person that I am, so it's impossible for me to say I regret having lived there.
I believe in professionalism, but playing is not like a job. You have to be grateful to have the opportunity to play.
I believed in studying just because I knew education was a privilege. It was the discipline of study, to get into the habit of doing something that you don't want to do. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I didn't have a philosophical understanding of music until I came to New York. I didn't understand how it applied to my kind and my generation. I thought it was just old people talking. Music, Chants & Rapps
I didn't want to get that ring around my lips from practicing the trumpet, because I thought the girls wouldn't like me. So I never practiced.
I dress up a certain way because I respect the music. Respect ;Music, Chants & Rapps
I feel like a lot of the fundamental material, I've assimilated. So now the question is: Am I going to really get into my spiritual inheritance of music and really develop my abilities? Music, Chants & Rapps
I feel that for years of teaching in the country and reading criticism in books, I feel like the things most needed in our culture are the understanding of the meanings of our music. We haven't done that good of job teaching our kids what our music means or how we developed our taste in music that reminds us and teaches us who we are. Music, Chants & Rapps
I generally work right up to when I have to do something - I'm always doing a lot. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I got my first trumpet when I was six years old, from Al Hirt. My father was playing in Al Hirt's band at that time. Time
I grew up in the South, and our way of dealing with each other was teasing, ribbing, making fun and scrapping in the street. Criticism doesn't bother me so much. It actually made me, when I was younger, more aggressive. But you get into middle age, and you lose interest in that stuff. It's not serious.
I grew up in the South, in New Orleans, where guys torture you all the time. So I didn't really grow up on the self-esteem campaign. When you were lousy at something, they told you you were lousy, and they told you how to fix it. Time
I had to figure out how to survive in New York, and most of my time was occupied in getting an apartment and getting money. A lot of older jazz guys looked out for me and found me gigs and places to stay. Time ;Money, Coins & Minting
I have absolutely no idea what my generation did to enrich our democracy. We dropped the ball. We entered a period of complacency and closed our eyes to the public corruption of our democracy.
I have friends who will critique me much harder than any review.
I never minded giving my opinions. They are just opinions, and I had studied music and I had strong feelings. I was happy for my opinions to join all the other opinions. But you have to be prepared for what comes back, especially if you don't agree with the dominant mythology. Music, Chants & Rapps
I play piano and drums very poorly and French horn and tuba all equally as bad.
I sounded like myself. People be saying I sound like Miles or Clifford Brown.
I think that the blues is in everything, so it's not possible to neglect it. You hear somebody go 'Ooh ooh oooh,' and that's the blues. You hear a rock n' roll song. That's the blues. Somebody playing a guitar solo? They're playing the blues.
I try to find the core values that are so fundamental that they transcend ethnic identity. That doesn't mean I run from it. I embrace African-American culture and I love it and embrace it, but it is a part of a human identity. So I'm always trying to make a larger human statement. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I wanted to make somebody feel like Coltrane made me feel, listening to it.
If you are serious about American culture and you are serious about Afro-American culture, you are in a lot of pain. You are not - you are not smiling about it.
I'm just lucky to have the type of friends and musicians and people dedicated to my music that I do. Music, Chants & Rapps
I'm not a person who writes really abstract things with oblique references. I look at abstraction like I look at condiments. Give me some Tabasco sauce, some ketchup, some mayonnaise. I love all of that. Put it on a trumpet. I've just got to have the ketchup and Tabasco sauce. That's my attitude about musical philosophy. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I'm not afraid of you being yourself. That's America.
In the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra we play such a diversity of music, with 10 arrangers in the band, we don't really worry about whether it's contemporary or not. Music, Chants & Rapps
It was Dr. King's tireless activism that fostered our modern way of relating to one another.
It's important to address young people in the reopening of New Orleans. In rebuilding, let's revisit the potential of American democracy and American glory.
Jazz celebrates older generations and not just the youth movement. When you 'sell' only to people of a certain age, you get cut off from the main body of experience.
Jazz comes from our way of life, and because it's our national art form, it helps us to understand who we are. Life ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Jazz is not the kind of music you are going to learn to play in three or four years or that you can just get because you have some talent for music. Music, Chants & Rapps
Jazz music creates so many phenomenal figures. Music, Chants & Rapps
Jazz music is America's past and its potential, summed up and sanctified and accessible to anybody who learns to listen to, feel, and understand it. The music can connect us to our earlier selves and to our better selves-to-come. It can remind us of where we fit on the time line of human achievement, an ultimate value of art. Time ;Music, Chants & Rapps ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Many a revolution started with the actions of a few. Only 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence. A few hanging together can lead a nation to change. Independence
Many of our greatest musicians abandoned all of their aesthetic objectives to try to become pertinent. And, at the end of the day, they never became pop stars. I counter stated that very strongly, and I continue to do that.
Maybe the preoccupation with technological progress has overshadowed our concern with human progress.
Musicians like to converse. There's always interesting conversation with musicians - with classical musicians, with jazz musicians, musicians in general.
My daddy expected that my brothers and I and our generation would make the world a better place. He had lived in an America of continual social progress.
My daddy thought - no, he expected - that my brothers and I and our generation would make the world a better place. He was correct in his belief because he had lived in an America of continual social progress, depression followed by prosperity, segregation by integration, and so on.
My father is a jazz musician, so I grew up hearing jazz. My parents loved it, but I didn't like it. It went on for too long. Yes, I had certain teachers that really inspired me, like Danny Barker, and John Longo. And I had no idea that I would have any impact on jazz.
My mother always took my brothers and me to music lessons. There were six children. Our parents attended our concerts and encouraged us to study and enjoy many different types of music. Music, Chants & Rapps
My older brother and myself always played together in bands, but we never knew we would be professional musicians.
My schedule is always tight. But I like to have the pressure of having to finish doing something; it gives me an added edge.
My thing is, once you start to put a backbeat on your music or something that has a machine in it, you have popularity, but you lose the flexibility. And you lose a richness. Music, Chants & Rapps
Only a few act - the rest of us reap the benefits of their risk.
People have taken time out of their day and spent their money to come sit down at a concert. And it's jazz music-it's not easy for them to get to it. I don't want them ever to feel that I'm taking their presence lightly. Time ;Money, Coins & Minting
Swing is extreme coordination. It's a maintaining balance, equilibrium. It's about executing very difficult rhythms with a panache and a feeling in the context of very strict time. So, everything about the swing is about some guideline and some grid and the elegant way that you negotiate your way through that grid. Time
Thank the good Lord for a job.
The bandstand is a sacred place.
The best way to be, is to do.
The blues. It runs through all American music. Somebody bending the note. The other is the two-beat groove. It's in New Orleans music, it's in jazz, it's in country music, it's in gospel. Music, Chants & Rapps
The first time I ever played the trumpet in public, I played the Marine Hymn. I sounded terrible. Time
The heart of a music is its rhythm. The heart of rhythm section music is the rhythm. Music, Chants & Rapps
The history of jazz lets us know that this period in our history is not the only period we've come through together. If we truly understood the history of our national arts, we'd know that we have mutual aspirations, a shared history, in good times and bad. History
The main three components are the blues, improvisation - which is some kind of element that people are trying to make it up - and swing, which means even though they're making up music, they're trying to make it up together. It feels great, like you're having a great conversation with somebody. Music, Chants & Rapps
The majority of the high schools and the public schools in N.Y.C. don't even have band programs. Hip-hop in a lot of ways is an outgrowth of a lack of instruments and a desire to play music, so we can't really fault the kids for that. Music, Chants & Rapps
The musicians I respected were much older than me. I expected them to cut my head, and they did.
The nerves are a problem on trumpet, because when you mess up everyone can hear it. Just remember most people are too polite to say anything about it. That should calm your nerves.
The rebuilding of New Orleans is an important point in the history of the United States. History
The young very seldom lead anything in our country today. It's been quite some time since a younger generation pushed an older one to a higher standard. Time
There are forces all around you who wish to exploit division, rob you of your freedom, and tell you what to think. But young folks can rekindle the weary spirit of a slumbering nation. Freedom & Liberty
There is an idea that a mind is wasted on the arts unless it makes you good in math or science. There is some evidence that the arts might help you in math and science. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
There really have only ever been a few people in each generation who step out, are willing to put themselves on the line, and risk everything for their beliefs.
There was one thing Beethoven didn't do. When one of his string quartets was played, you can believe the second violin wasn't improvising.
There's always the cliche of the choir shouting and clapping. OK, you have to do that, but there's also introspective parts, parts where you just follow someone that's preaching. There's lots of different emotions and moods that a service requires.
There's so much spirit of integration and democracy in jazz.
There's the tradition in jazz of having the Battle of the Bands, and you do not want to get your head cut when you're playing.
This rebuilding of New Orleans gives us the perfect opportunity to see if we're ready to extend the legacy of Dr. King.
Through first-class education, a generation marches down the long uncertain road of the future with confidence. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Future
Through improvisation, jazz teaches you about yourself. And through swing, it teaches you that other people are individuals too. It teaches you how to coordinate with them.
Trumpet players see each other, and it's like we're getting ready to square off or get into a fight or something.
We always hear about the rights of democracy, but the major responsibility of it is participation.
We looked up to our father. He still is much greater than us. Families, Children & Parenting
What I really have in my head, my imagination, my understanding of music, I never really get that out. Music, Chants & Rapps
What I've learned how to do as I've gotten older is to take all of the information that I have, and push it aside, and try to distill each song into an emotional theme. The hardest thing that I've ever had to learn how to do in playing music is use the sound of my instrument to create an emotional effect. Music, Chants & Rapps
What, other than injustice, could be the reason that the displaced citizens of New Orleans cannot be accommodated by the richest nation in the world?
When did we begin to lose faith in our ability to effect change? Religion & God
When I auditioned for my high school band the band director was excited because my father was known to be a great musician. When he heard me, he said 'Are you sure you're Ellis's son?'
When I first came to New York everybody on the scene would treat me like I could play, but I couldn't.
When I was 12, I began listening to John Coltrane and I developed a love for jazz, which I still have more and more each year. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
When me and my brother would go to see our daddy playing, there'd be 30 people in the audience. I was only 14 or 15, but I realised something was wrong.
When people dress well, they play well.
When you create change with your point of view, you have to be ready for what comes with that.
Whenever you face a man who's playing your instrument, there's a competition.
You need a team. You need people to push you. You need opponents.