Months ago we got tickets through the Victoria Jazz Society to see trumpet great Wynton Marsalis play at UVic’s University Centre Auditorium with his quintet. Last night was the concert we had waited for for so long. (Frank Stewart photo)I had only heard of Wynton (from my trumpeter big brother), but not seen him live. Now that I have, I’m so glad I did. He’s fantastic.
Wynton has a bit of an air of an older man about him, the way he shuffles around the stage, but actually he only celebrated his 45th birthday yesterday. He might walk “old” but the way he plays his horn is like a young sprite, high and spirited one moment and low and melancholy the next. The other pieces of his quintet – a piano, bass, drums and saxaphone – were also wonderful, each taking their turn to solo and wow the crowd. The drummer in particular had such an infectious smile on his face the whole night that you couldn’t help but be excited to be in the audience to watch such people in love with their music play.
I wondered at the beginning of the night whether Wynton was a bit audience-shy, as the first thing he said – “How y’all doing?” – was without a mike and barely looking at the audience. But he grabbed the mike after his first song and seemed to warm up to the crowd. Shy and halting seems to be his style, but funny! Oh he’s funny too – and we were constantly chuckling at the things he said in between songs.
You can tell that Wynton feels the music and loves what he does. What a great night in Victoria, listening to one of music’s great trumpeters.