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The Dartmouth
June 12, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Wynton Marsalis and band play Hop concert

The Hopkins Center will celebrate jazz’s classic and vibrant sound on Monday evening when Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, a 15-man touring group featuring nine-time Grammy Award-winner Wynton Marsalis, performs a concert at Spaulding Auditorium.

While this is not the first time JLCO has graced Dartmouth’s stage, the pieces performed will differ from previous performances. JLCO often changes its sets between concerts and venues, JLCO saxophonist and clarinetist Victor Goines said.

This concert will focus specifically on a repertoire of music by jazz icon Art Blakey, a famous drummer who led the Jazz Messengers, a traveling music group similar to JLCO that once featured a young, up-and-coming Marsalis.

Monday’s performance will feature recordings by Blakey such as “Free For All” and “Along Came Betty,” a piece composed by Benny Golson.

Released in 1964, “Free for All” features Blakey’s rapid, drum-heavy style mixed with subtle, underlying piano tones and sudden, energetic saxophone and trumpet accents. “Along Came Betty,” released on Blakey’s 1958 album “Moanin’,” is driven mainly by a repetitive and peaceful saxophone and trumpet melody intercut with minimal but purposeful drumming.

Blakey had a significant influence on jazz musicians as a player and an ensemble leader, Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble director Don Glasgo said.

“He was brilliant at getting young musicians into his group to work with them for a few years,” Glasgo said. “They would go on to become much more professional and established.”

In addition to hearing renditions of Blakey’s music, audience members at Monday’s sold-out performance will experience one of the key features of jazz: improvisation.

“People should pay attention to each section of the band,” Glasgo said. “But also pay attention to improvisation, because it’s fully kind of the whole point of jazz — not so much what’s written, but what you say in the moment. It’s one of our gifts to the world.”

When the troupe is not rehearsing or performing, its members engage with those who are as much in love with jazz as they are, Goines said.

“What has been so beautiful to me about jazz is that it allows me to share my personality through music to people,” he said. “It’s a privilege to travel because everyday is an opportunity to learn and fellowship with people from around the world.”

Goines has played with JLCO for more than 20 years but has a lifetime experience of learning and performing with fellow New Orleans native Marsalis, who was his kindergarten classmate.

“It’s special for me to see someone who’s dedicated his life to jazz music achieve his goals,” Goines said. “It’s great that he’s invited us to be successful with him and celebrate jazz alongside him.”

While JLCO prepares for the show, the group is simultaneously preparing for its upcoming Lincoln Center concert, “Roots of Ragtime,” honoring Scott Joplin and other ragtime composers on Oct. 17-18.

Jazz enthusiasts who did not purchase tickets to Monday’s performance can watch the concert live via webcast next week.

Hop publicity coordinator Rebecca Bailey said the group, which originally formed in 1988, is noted for its energy, creativity and precision.

“[JLCO] is one of those few professional big bands that can work consistently,” Bailey said. “It’s able to present a great breadth of incredible music that goes back to the early part of the century.”