To cope with the crisis we all find ourselves in, Jazz great Wynton Marsalis says it helps to understand and embrace the blues.
“The blues is about tragic situations. The blues gives us that optimism that's not naive. It takes a thing that happened and it doesn't say this didn't happen. You can't fight the pain. So you have to feel it and embrace what's going on,” said Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Marsalis is the Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln center. As the city shut down he turned to live chats, but that was interrupted when his father Ellis, the patriarch of the Marsalis musical dynasty, died in New Orleans as a result of the coronavirus.
Marsalis then returned to the virtual realm with his extended jazz family to pay tribute to his dad and share some of his father's final thoughts.
“He said nobody ever knows when it's their time. And he said if it does happen it's not any more tragic because it's you then it is for anybody else. And that was one of the main themes he stressed to all of us which was that everyone is connected and if something hurts one person it hurts everybody. Just stay up at night and think about how sweet he was as a person,” said Marsalis.
Wynton will continue his online chats and anyone can join.
“It's called Skain's domain. It's like sitting in my house. We're gonna be telling stories other jazz musicians are going to be on. And we're gonna have international artist podcasts and new songs. We're gonna be reading essays,” said Marsalis.
It's Skain's domain. Skain is like your musical world nickname right?
“Yeah that was my nickname as a kid, it's so silly,” said Marsalis.
The quarantine can't keep a jazz musicians down.
I've heard you say many times that the thing that sets a jazz musician apart from any other musicians is that they have to be able to play for like no one in the house.
“Yes, that's very common. For many of our musicians we experience that. I saw my father many times play for very few people and played just as good. It didn't matter. He was there to play and embody the music,” Marsalis said.
Keeping the music going in the spirit of his dad, during his own grief and the world's is essential.
“We need our optimism and a belief that the best of who we are will come to the foreground, and our job as an art form and an institution is to remind us of who we are at our best, and to embody that,” said Marsalis.
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