Wynton Marsalis Plays Duke for the Kids

Toes tapped and hairs on the backs of necks remained standing for a full hour 10/4 as the elegant musical language of Duke Ellington filled Granada Theatre for 1,400 6th graders from two dozen South Coast schools. “Ellington was the most important composer in all of jazz,” Wynton Marsalis (pictured above) told the kids as his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra paid homage, breaking down the “hot style,” “sweet style,” stride piano, and New Orleans influence that Ellington wove together, starting in the 1920s. Brought to town by the Children’s Creative Project and UCSB Arts & Lectures, Marsalis impressed upon the school kids Ellington’s lifelong “desire to learn” and his self-styled status as “the world’s greatest listener.” 

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