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Afro-Cuban Ambitions

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s outsized season opener

Pedrito Martinez (singing at left), the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and others perform Wynton Marsalis' "Ochas" in September 2014

Everybody’s always concerned with the whole. The big picture. The end result. But sometimes it’s the parts that are the most interesting. Such was the case at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on Sept. 19, when the New York institution premiered a new suite by trumpeter and JALC leader Wynton Marsalis. Featuring Marsalis, his orchestra, pianist Chucho Valdés, vocalist-percussionist Pedrito Martinez and others, this performance was the middle of a three-night run opening JALC’s 2014-2015

season. Just about all of the music worked, and one left having taken in something culturally special and entertaining. But it was the puzzle pieces, not the puzzle, that left the deepest impression.

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