WYNTON MARSALIS PLAYS LIVE, NATIONAL TV JUST HOURS AFTER TAKING DELIVERY OF HIS NEW RAJA III STC Bb!!!
By Dave Monette
Depending on how you look at it, Wyntonís new RAJA III STC was either 9 months or 27 years in the making! I didnít want small improvements over previous RAJAs - I wanted huge improvements, in every way, with more versatility and no compromises. We did it! Using the first RAJA III STC we built earlier this year for our own Dean Willoughby as the benchmark, we built an almost identical horn with a few added personal tweaks for Wynton, and he took to it immediately. How immediately?
PBS LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER THE DAY OF DEVLIERY!
We received the mouthpieces back from gold plating late on a Tuesday evening, and I immediately performed my final playtests and adjustments. The favorite of the batch were two made with the new #82 backboreÖ more on this elsewhere (remove) in the NEW MOUTHPIECE NEWS story elsewhere in this newsletter.
Everything checked out great, so I packed up the horn, drove to the airport and got on a Red Eye to New York. After flying all night, I arriving at Lincoln Center at 8:45 AM, just as Wynton and N.Y. Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert were doing an informal press event and greeting some of the 2,000 or so people who were in line to attend the free open rehearsal. At about 9:20 AM or so, Wynton finished up with the press, and we walked across the street to his apartment.
THE U.S. PREMIER OF MARSALIS SYMPHONY No. 3 - THE SWING SYMPHONY
The dress rehearsal audience got a real treat - a free concert! Adam Rapa and his wife Elisabeth were in the crowd, and we hung out before the concert with them. Wynton took the first several minutes of warm up time on stage to show the horn off to Ryan Kisor and the rest of the trumpet section - so he had at most 15 minutes of total time playing the horn before his first public performance on it! Once rehearsal started, Mike and I stood backstage in the wings with all the TV people, listening to the musicians 15 feet away and watching on several television monitors with multiple camera angles. The band sounded great, and Wynton just tore it up!
After rehearsal we checked in with Wynton and got the thumbs up - he loved the horn! After a late lunch with Adam Rapa and friends, Mike and I checked in to our hotel and got ready for the big concert. We got to the hall with some time to spare, so we went backstage to hang with the band members and check out the scene. This was the gala season opening concert, and with live TV broadcast on PBS, the energy level backstage was especially amazing. The show went great, with a standing ovation that lasted over ten minutes! Incredible music Wynton, and incredible trumpet playing too by the entire trumpet section!
NO TIME TO REST!
On the Friday after the concert, Wynton met Alex Glenfield and me for an hour-long throat singing demonstration, and we had a blast! Check out the link on the right for video of this session.
The next day, Wynton played for the Season Opener of Jazz at Lincoln Center in a small group setting with Jazz Legend Roy Haynes. Then, the week after this, the full big band traveled to Cuba for a historic tour and to record with some of the top musicians in that country. A CBS 60 Minutes camera crew joined them to document these events. Stay tuned for this on 60 Minutes later this season!
Thanks to Mike Thompson for all his help on the trip. This was an amazing time and I could not have done it without you, Mike! For more information on Wynton and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, please visit Wyntonís excellent website and Facebook page:
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