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THE JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA (JLCO), comprising 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today, has been the Jazz at Lincoln Center resident orchestra since 1988. Featured in all aspects of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s programming, this remarkably versatile orchestra performs and leads educational events in New York, across the U.S., and around the globe; in concert halls, dance venues, jazz clubs, public parks; and with symphony orchestras, ballet troupes, local students, and an ever-expanding roster of guest artists.
Education is a major part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s mission, and its educational activities are coordinated with concert and JLCO tour programming. These programs, many of which feature JLCO members, include the celebrated Jazz for Young People family concert series, the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, the Jazz for Young People Curriculum, educational residencies, workshops, and concerts for students and adults worldwide. Jazz at Lincoln Center educational programs reach over 110,000 students, teachers, and general audience members.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center weekly radio series, Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio, is distributed by the WFMT Radio Networks. Winner of a 1997 Peabody Award, Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio is produced in conjunction with Murray Street Enterprise, New York.
Under Music Director Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra spends over a third of the year on tour. The big band performs a vast repertoire, from rare historic compositions to Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works, including compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Billy Strayhorn, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, Sy Oliver, and Oliver Nelson. Guest conductors have included Benny Carter, John Lewis, Jimmy Heath, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Santos, Paquito D’Rivera, Jon Faddis, Robert Sadin, David Berger, Gerald Wilson, and Loren Schoenberg.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra also regularly premieres works commissioned from a variety of composers including Benny Carter, Joe Henderson, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter, Sam Rivers, Joe Lovano, Chico O’Farrill, Freddie Hubbard, Charles McPherson, Marcus Roberts, Geri Allen, Eric Reed, Wallace Roney, and Christian McBride, as well as from current and former JLCO members Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, and Ted Nash.
Over the last few years, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has performed collaborations with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic; the Russian National Orchestra; the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; the Boston, Chicago and London symphony orchestras; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the Orchestra Esperimentale in São Paolo, Brazil. In 2006, the JLCO collaborated with Ghanaian drum collective Odadaa!, led by Yacub Addy, to perform Congo Square, a composition Marsalis and Addy co-wrote and dedicated to Marsalis’ native New Orleans. The JLCO has also been featured in several education and performance residencies in the last few years, including those in Vienne, France; Perugia, Italy; Prague, Czech Republic; London, England; Lucerne, Switzerland; Berlin, Germany; São Paulo, Brazil; and Yokohama, Japan.
Television broadcasts of JLCO programs have helped broaden the awareness of its unique efforts in the music. Concerts by JLCO have aired in the U.S., England, France, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Norway, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines. JLCO has appeared on several XM Satellite Radio live broadcasts and eight Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts, carried by PBS stations nationwide, including a program which aired on October 18, 2004 during the grand opening of JLCO’s new home, Frederick P. Rose Hall and on September 17, 2005 during Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Higher Ground Benefit Concert. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Higher Ground Benefit Concert raised funds for the Higher Ground Relief Fund that was established by Jazz at Lincoln Center and administered through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to benefit the musicians, music industry related enterprises, and other individuals and entities from the areas in Greater New Orleans who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina and to provide other general hurricane relief. The band is also featured in the Higher Ground Benefit Concert CD that was released on Blue Note Records following the concert. The JLCO was featured in a Thirteen/WNET production of Great Performances entitled “Swingin’ with Duke: Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis,” which aired on PBS. In September 2002, BET Jazz premiered a weekly series called Journey with Jazz at Lincoln Center, featuring performances by JLCO around the world.
To date, 14 recordings featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis have been released and internationally distributed, including Vitoria Suite (2010), Portrait in Seven Shades (2010), Congo Square (2007), A Love Supreme (2005), All Rise (2002), Big Train (1999), They Came to Swing (1994), and Portraits by Ellington (1992).
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Brooks Brothers is the official clothier of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
Wynton Marsalis is the Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12 and soon began playing in local bands of diverse genres. He entered the Juilliard School at age 17 and joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Marsalis made his recording debut as a leader in 1982, and has since recorded more than 70 jazz and classical albums, which have garnered him nine Grammys. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz Grammys in the same year; he repeated this feat in 1984. Marsalis’ rich body of compositions includes Sweet Release, Citi Movement/Griot New York, At the Octoroon Balls, and Big Train. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields, which was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 1999, he released eight new recordings in his unprecedented Swinging into the 21st series, and premiered several new compositions, including the ballet Them Twos, a collaboration with the New York City Ballet. That same year, he premiered the monumental work All Rise, commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Morgan State University Choir. In 2004, he released The Magic Hour, his first of six albums on Blue Note records, which include From the Plantation to the Penitentiary (2007); Two Men with the Blues featuring Willie Nelson (2008); and his latest Blue Note release, He and She (2009). Marsalis composed his second symphony, Blues Symphony, which was premiered in 2009 by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and performed again by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2010.
Marsalis is also an internationally respected teacher and spokesman for music education, and he has received honorary doctorates from dozens of universities and colleges throughout the U.S. He conducts educational programs for students of all ages and hosts the popular Jazz for Young People concerts produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center, the video series “Marsalis on Music,” and the radio series “Making the Music.” He has written five books, including To a Young Musician: Letters from the Road and Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life.
In 2001, Marsalis was appointed Messenger of Peace by Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations; he has also been designated cultural ambassador to the United States of America by the U.S. State Department through their CultureConnect program. In 2009, Marsalis was awarded France’s Legion of Honor, the highest honor bestowed by this government. He serves on Lieutenant Governor Landrieu’s National Advisory Board for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, a national advisory board to guide the Lieutenant Governor's administration’s plans to rebuild Louisiana’s tourism and cultural economies. Marsalis was instrumental in the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief concert, produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center, which raised over $3 million for the Higher Ground Relief Fund to benefit the musicians, music industry related enterprises and other individuals and entities from the areas in Greater New Orleans who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Wynton Marsalis is published by arrangement with Skayne’s Music, Boosey & Hawkes Inc., Sole Agent.
Walter Blanding was born August 14, 1971 in Cleveland, Ohio to a musical family and began playing the saxophone at age six. In 1981, he moved with his family to New York City, where he attended LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts (which inspired the TV series Fame) and continued his studies at the New School for Social Research, receiving his B.F.A. in May 2005. His 1991 debut release, Tough Young Tenors, was acclaimed as one of the best jazz albums of the year and his artistry began to impress listeners and critics alike. Since that time, in addition to joining the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 1998, he has performed, toured, and/or recorded with not only his own groups, but also with such renowned artists as Roy Hargrove, the Count Basie Orchestra, Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Roberts, and Isaac Hayes. Blanding lived in Israel for four years, where he had a major impact on the music scene, touring the country with his own ensemble and with invited U.S. artists, such as Louis Hayes, Eric Reed, Vanessa Rubin, and others, to perform there. He also taught music in several Israeli schools and even opened his own private school in Tel Aviv. During this period, Newsweek International described him in a feature article as “Jazz Ambassador to Israel.”
Chris Crenshaw was born on December 20, 1982. He is originally from Thomson, Georgia. He grew up with music of various influences all around him, and started playing piano on his own at the age of three. Teachers and students noticed his gift throughout his schooling. His first gig was as a keyboardist in his father Casper’s gospel group, the Echoes of Joy. Chris Crenshaw picked up trombone at 11 years old and hasn’t let go of it since. Receiving top honors along the way, he graduated from Thomson High School in 2001 and from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance in 2005. He received top honors at VSU, including Most Outstanding Student in the VSU Music Department and College of the Arts. He graduated from the Juilliard School with a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies in 2007. Crenshaw was the 2004 Eastern Trombone Workshop National Jazz Solo Competition winner. His teachers include Dr. Douglas Farwell and Wycliffe Gordon and he has worked with the likes of Gerald Wilson, Marcus Printup, Vincent Gardner, Jiggs Whigham, Carl Allen, Victor Goines, Marc Cary, Walter Blanding, Cassandra Wilson, and Eric Reed. Crenshaw has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since 2006.
Vincent R. Gardner was born in Chicago in 1972 and raised in Hampton, Virginia. His family has a strong musical background, including his mother, his brother, and his father, Burgess Gardner, a trumpeter and music educator who has been very active on the Chicago music scene since the 1960s. Singing in church from an early age, he began playing piano when he was six, and soon switched to the violin, saxophone, and French horn before finally deciding on the trombone at age 12. Gardner became interested in jazz while attending high school and upon graduating went on to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida and the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. After graduating from college, he moved to Brooklyn, New York to pursue his professional career. After completing a world tour with Grammy-winning artist Lauryn Hill in 2000, he joined Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Gardner is also an active educator, currently serving as an Instructor of Jazz Trombone at the Juilliard School and participating in numerous educational settings with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Gardner has also been part of a number of notable recordings, including Marcus Roberts’ Blues for the New Millennium (1997) and Wynton Marsalis’ All Rise (2002). He has recorded three CDs as a leader for Steeplechase Records, Elbow Room (2005), and The Good Book, Chapter 1, and Vin-Slidin. Gardner has performed, toured, and/or recorded with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, the Count Basie Orchestra, Chaka Kahn, Nancy Wilson, McCoy Tyner, Tommy Flanagan, Matchbox 20, and Jimmy Heath.
A native of New Orleans, Victor L. Goines has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Wynton Marsalis Septet since 1993, touring throughout the world and recording over 21 releases, including Marsalis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Blood on the Fields. As a leader, Goines has seven recordings, including Pastels of Ballads and Blues (2007) and Love Dance from Criss Cross Records. A gifted composer, Goines has more than 50 original works to his credit. In 2000, he was commissioned by Juilliard’s Dance division to compose a musical work in celebration of their 50th anniversary. Additional commissions have come from Jazz at Lincoln Center. Goines has recorded and/or performed with many noted jazz and popular artists, including Ahmad Jamal, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Dizzy Gillespie, Lenny Kravitz, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Willie Nelson, Marcus Roberts, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder. Currently, he is the director of jazz studies/professor of music at Northwestern University. Prior to that appointment he was for seven years artistic director of the jazz program at the Juilliard School, and a faculty member teaching saxophone and clarinet. He received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Loyola University in New Orleans in 1984, and a Master of Music degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 1990.
Carlos Henriquez was born in 1979 in the Bronx, New York. After having studied classical guitar in junior high school, he started playing bass at the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program and entered LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, where he performed in the LaGuardia Concert Jazz Ensemble, which earned first place in the 1996 Jazz at Lincoln Center First Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition. Henriquez has performed with artists such as Steve Turre, Eddie Palmieri and Tito Puente, Carlos Santana, and George Benson. He traveled with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra during its 20-city 1998 summer tour through the United States, Canada, and Japan and was also featured on the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Fall 1998 World Tour, which traveled to 33 cities in Europe, South America, and the U.S. Since then, he has recorded, toured, and performed with artists including Wynton Marsalis, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Danilo Perez, and Celia Cruz. Henriquez became a full-time member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2005.
Sherman Irby was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and began playing music at the age of 12. Upon graduating high school Irby attended Clark Atlanta University and graduated with a B.A. in Music Education. He joined Atlanta-based piano legend Johnny O’Neal’s quintet in 1991. After moving to New York in 1994, he quickly connected with the fertile and vital scene at Smalls, where he was a regular until 1997. Here he caught the attention of Blue Note Records, for which he recorded his first two albums, Full Circle and Big Mama’s Biscuits. He also toured the U.S. and the Caribbean with the Boys Choir of Harlem in 1995; was a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra from 1995 to 1997; and recorded and toured with Marcus Roberts, participated in the incomparable Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Program, and began his four-year stint with Roy Hargrove in 1997. Irby left Blue Note to form Black Warrior Records, releasing Black Warrior, Faith, and Organ Starter. Departing from Roy Hargrove’s ensemble around the same time, Sherman shifted his focus to his own group. Currently, he has rejoined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and continues to perform with his quartet and his group Organomics.
Ali Jackson Jr. developed his talent on drums at an early age. In 1993, he graduated from Cass Tech High School and was the recipient of Michigan’s prestigious Artserv “Emerging Artist” award in 1998. As a child, he was selected as the soloist for the “Beacons Of Jazz” concert that honored legend Max Roach at New School University. After earning an undergraduate degree in music composition at the New School University for Contemporary Music, he studied under Elvin Jones and Max Roach. Jackson has been part of Young Audiences, a program that educates New York City youth about jazz. He has performed and recorded with artists including Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Joshua Redman, Vinx, Diana Krall, and the New York City Ballet. He has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since 2005. Jackson currently performs with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet and Horns in the Hood, and leads his own Ali Jackson Quartet. He also hosted “Jammin’ with Jackson,” a series for young musicians at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy Club Coca-Cola. He is also the voice of “Duck Ellington,” a character in the Penguin book series Baby Loves Jazz that was released in 2006.
Ryan Kisor was born on April 12, 1973, in Sioux City, Iowa and began playing trumpet at age four. In 1990, he won first prize at the Thelonious Monk Institute’s first annual Louis Armstrong Trumpet Competition. Kisor enrolled in the Manhattan School of Music in 1991, where he studied with trumpeter Lew Soloff. He has performed and/or recorded with the Mingus Big Band, the Gil Evans Orchestra, Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Philip Morris Jazz All-Stars, and others. As well as being an active sideman, Kisor has recorded several albums as a leader, including Battle Cry (1997), The Usual Suspects (1998), and Point of Arrival (2000). He has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since 1994.
Born in England on January 13, 1977, Elliot Mason began trumpet lessons with his father at age four and took up the piano at age seven. However, struck with an overwhelming curiosity in his father’s trombone, young Mason soon switched his focus from the trumpet. At 11 years old, Mason was already performing as a trombonist in dance halls, theaters, clubs, and pubs, concentrating primarily on jazz and improvisation. In 1992 he won the national Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Soloist Award and was featured at John Dankworth’s Wavendon Jazz School. At age 16, Mason left England to join his brother, Brad Mason, at the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts on a full tuition scholarship. At 18, he won the ITW’s Under 29 Jazz Trombone competition, as well as the Slide Hampton Award in recognition of outstanding performance abilities from Berklee. After graduating from Berklee in 1996, he moved to New York City, where he distinguished himself as a respected and highly in-demand trombone and bass trumpet player. While a permanent performer with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since 2007, Mason continues to co-lead the Mason Brothers Band with his brother Brad. His career includes performances with such groups as the Count Basie Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, and the Maria Schneider Orchestra. He has also performed with artists such as Natalie Cole, Randy Brecker, Chris Potter, Mike Stern, Airto Moreira, and Abe Laboriel.
Composer and multi-instrumentalist Ted Nash was born in Los Angeles into a musical family – his father and uncle are well-known jazz and studio musicians. He first came to New York at the age of eighteen and soon after released his first album, Conception, as a leader. During his first three years in New York he became a regular member of the Gerry Mulligan Big Band, the National Jazz Ensemble, and the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, the latter an association that would last for more than ten years. In 1994, Nash was commissioned by the Davos Musik Festival (Switzerland) to compose for a string quartet in a jazz setting. This commission was the inspiration for Nash’s CD Rhyme and Reason, which was voted one of the top five CDs of 1999 by Jazz Times magazine. Currently, Nash is a member of JLCO, the Jazz Composers Collective, and the prestigious faculty at the Juilliard School as musical director of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra. Nash’s CDs have received awards from such publications as The New York Times, Village Voice, Boston Globe, New York Newsday, The New Yorker, Downbeat, and Jazz Times. Nash has been cited as a “rising star” on saxophone in the Downbeat Critics Poll, as well as the SESAC National Performance Activity Award for the success of the CD on the radio. Nash’s most recent release, The Mancini Project (Palmetto Records), has received critical acclaim.
Dan Nimmer was born in 1982 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An old soul in a very young body, Nimmer plays with the spirit, the passion, and the soul of someone who has been on the planet much longer. With prodigious technique and innate sense of swing, his playing often recalls that of his own heroes, specifically Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly, Erroll Garner, and Art Tatum. As a young man, Nimmer’s family inherited a piano and he started playing by ear, which led to classical studies with pianist Barbara Bunge. It wasn’t long before he was studying with jazz pianist Mark Davis at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. At the same time, he began playing gigs in Milwaukee with renowned saxophonist Berkley Fudge. Upon graduation from high school, Nimmer left Milwaukee to study music at Northern Illinois University. After finding great success in Chicago’s music scene, Nimmer decided to leave school following his second year and move to New York City, where he immediately emerged on the New York circuit. In 2005, Marsalis heard Nimmer and hired him as a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Nimmer has performed and or recorded with Jimmy Cobb, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Cassandra Wilson, Benny Golson, Ed Thigpen, Wes “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Fareed Haque, and many more. He has released two albums on the Venus label –Tea For Two and Kelly Blue, which features bassist John Webber and legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb.
Marcus Printup was born and raised in Conyers, Georgia. He had his first musical experiences hearing the fiery gospel music his parents sang in church. While attending the University of North Florida on a music scholarship, he won the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Trumpet competition. In 1991, Printup’s life changed drastically when he met his mentor, the great pianist Marcus Roberts. Roberts introduced him to Marsalis, which led to his induction into the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 1993. Printup has recorded with Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Eric Reed, Madeline Peyroux, Ted Nash, Cyrus Chestnut, Wycliffe Gordon, and Roberts, among others. Printup has several records as a leader: Song for the Beautiful Woman, Unveiled, Hub Songs, Nocturnal Traces, The New Boogaloo, Peace in the Abstract, and Bird of Paradise. He made his screen debut in the 1999 movie Playing by Heart and recorded on the film’s soundtrack.
Kenny Rampton grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and studied music at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and Berklee College of Music. In 1989, he moved to New York, where he quickly established his reputation as one of the most versatile musicians on the scene, touring and performing with a veritable who’s who in jazz. Rampton’s first road gig was a world tour with the Ray Charles Orchestra. As a sideman, Rampton has also performed with such greats as the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Dr. John, Lionel Hampton, Slide Hampton, and Jon Hendricks. Since 1995, he has been a regular member of the Mingus Big Band, playing both lead trumpet and as a featured soloist. He also plays with the Mingus Orchestra, the Mingus Dynasty, Mingus Epitaph (under the direction of Gunther Schuller), George Gruntz’ Concert Jazz Band, Dave Matthews, the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra, and Bebo Valdez’ Latin Jazz All-Stars. As leader of the Kenny Rampton Sextet, he has performed internationally and in many of New York City’s finest jazz clubs. Rampton has also done quite a bit of work on Broadway, TV, and radio commercials and can be heard on dozens of CD and video recordings.
Joe Temperley was born in Scotland and first achieved prominence in the United Kingdom as a member of Humphrey Lyttelton’s band from 1958 to 1965, which toured the U.S. in 1959. In 1965, he came to New York City, where he performed and/or recorded with such artists as Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Joe Henderson, Duke Pearson, the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Clark Terry. In October 1974 he toured and recorded with the Duke Ellington Orchestra as a replacement for Harry Carney. Temperley played in the Broadway show Sophisticated Ladies in the 1980s, and his film soundtrack credits include Cotton Club, Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs, When Harry Met Sally, and Tune In Tomorrow, which was composed by Wynton Marsalis. Temperley is a mentor and a co-founder of the FIFE Youth Jazz Orchestra program in Scotland, which now enrolls 70 young musicians ages 7 to 17 playing in three full-size bands. He has released several albums as a leader, including Nightingale (1991), With Every Breath (1998), and Double Duke (1999). He released Portraits on Hep records in 2006 and Cocktails for Two on Sackville in 2007. He is an original member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and serves on the faculty of the Juilliard Institute for Jazz Studies and the Manhattan School of Music. Temperley was named a “Rising Star” in Downbeat magazine’s 2007 Critic’s Poll.