Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

The Gig: Left, Right & Lincoln Center

Departures, crossovers and agents of change

Wynton Marsalis performing at the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival

One afternoon some years back, I found myself looking over a printout of events presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center. This would have been just a routine bit of research, except for the fact that I was standing in the elegant Manhattan apartment of the organization’s artistic director, Wynton Marsalis, who’d brandished the document to prove a point. “Every year, I hear about a departure,” he said with a long-suffering air, responding to my suggestion that Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2006-07 season, which was set to include one concert by Joe Zawinul and another featuring Cecil Taylor and John Zorn-rule-defying artists, no doubt-implied a widening of programmatic scope.

“That’s two gigs,” Marsalis pointed out. “We’ve produced 900 original concerts in the New York area. If you produced all that and someone told you, ‘Man, these two gigs are a departure,’ what would you think about that? Honestly? It would seem almost insulting or something.” He stabbed the printout with an index finger. “These 900 concerts, I see all kinds of names. None of them count? This never happened?”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published