A reunion concert for Wynton Marsalis and some longtime friends is coming up this Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Jazz at Lincoln Center. NY1's Stephanie Simon caught up with the musicians for their big reunion.
Inside the House of Swing, it's a coming home of sorts.
Wynton Marsalis is once again leading his septet in a concert of "In the House On This Morning,” a jazz gospel piece they recorded and performed 15 years ago at Lincoln Center.
“Well, we started at about 9:30. It was suppose to start at eight, but there was a graduation or something that made it go over,” says Marsalis. “And it's like two hours, and that's a long time.”
“And people were kind of just shell shocked, like, Îoh my goodness, I'd never heard anything like that.’ And you could just see it on their faces,” says Todd Williams.
A decade a half later, the guys are back together to play it again.
“This is actually like a big party really,” says Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson.
Six of the seven original band members are playing the reunion. Richard Johnson is sitting in at piano for Eric Reed, who's playing out of town.
NY1 caught up with them in between rehearsals. All longtime friends, most have played together extensively over the years since.
The heavily spiritual music was written by Marsalis more than a decade and a half ago.
“Oh, I hear a lot of things that I don't like that I'm doing, not addressing the harmony a certain way, some affects that are kind of corny,” says Marsalis.
Memories of the marathon rehearsals are also vivid.
“Everybody was in a lot of pain,” says Anderson.
Anderson may not have been satisfied with the original performance, but 15 years later he was going to be ready.
“I put it on my i-Pod, you know and listen to the music. And I remember certain parts, not looking at the music, just hearing it. And, Îoh yeah, I remember that part there. I was out of tune,’” says Anderson, laughing. “I won’t be this time.”
The original concert was held at Avery Fisher Hall. The reunion concerts will be at Jazz at Lincoln Center. So while not a home coming exactly, for these guys, the music and the friendship is home.
Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Wess "Warmdaddy" Anderson, Todd Williams, Reginald Veal, Herlin Riley from original recording, and Richard Johnson perform the gospel and jazz musical work May 24th, 25th & 26th at 8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.jalc.org
- Stephanie Simon