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Locomotive-Inspired Pieces at JALC

Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (LCJO) will offer a special series of jazz performances titled Full Steam Ahead from February 24-26. The series, which will feature former LCJO members Wycliffe Gordon on trombone and Rodney Whitaker (pictured) on bass, will explore a time when the sounds of locomotives inspired jazz.

The LCJO will demonstrate the effect trains had on the music of the first half of the 20th century through standards such as “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Main Stem” as well as other pieces by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and Wynton Marsalis.

On the subject of train inspiration, Albert Murray, cofounder of Jazz at Lincoln Center, wrote, “There is reason to believe that locomotive onomatopoeia may be the most direct source of that definitive emphasis on syncopation that distinguishes jazz percussion from the West African percussion from which it was derived, and also from the Afro-Caribbean percussion to which it is so closely related,” as cited in a press release.

In addition to his work on the trombone, Wycliffe Gordon has also worked as a performer, conductor, composer and educator throughout his career. Rodney Whitaker has performed with the likes of Branford Marsalis, Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson and Harold Harrison. He has also performed on Spike Lee’s film soundtracks for Jungle Fever and Malcolm X.

Tickets range from $10 to $150 and are available through the Jazz at Lincoln Center box office, by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500 or at

Originally Published