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Wynton Marsalis – Jungle Blues (1990)

Wynton Marsalis – Jungle Blues (1990)

Wynton Marsalis performs ‘Jungle Blues’ at Amnesty International in 1990.

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Wynton Marsalis (born October 18, 1961) is an internationally renowned American musician, composer, conductor, pedagogue and prominent advocate of American culture.

He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 18, 1961, in a family of six children where he was the second. At a very early age he showed a good aptitude for music by studying jazz and classical music, and around the age of 14 he performed in the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra.

Between 1975 and 1979, Wynton Marsalis played with the local funk band, The Creators, as well as the New Orleans Symphony Brass Quintet, the New Orleans Community Concert Band, the New Orleans Youth Orchestra, and the New Orleans Symphony.

He went to New York in 1978 to attend the Juilliard School and later, in 1980, he joined the Jazz Messengers and played in Herbie Hancock’s quartet on tour. In 1981 he began a tour with his own band, in 1982 he formed his own quintet together with his brother Branford on tenor sax and in 1983 he published his first recording of classical music authors (Trumpet Concertos with works by Haydn, Hummel and Mozart).

It is in this last year that he became the first and only artist to win two Grammy awards in the same year in the categories of classical music for Trumpet Concertos and jazz for Think of One. Then, in 1984, he again won two Grammy awards in classical music and jazz with Baroque Music for Trumpet and Hot House Flowers, respectively. In 1985 he won two more Grammy awards for Black Codes From The Underground and the following years will be an endless string of distinctions and awards that will honor his artistic merits.

In 1991 he made his first appearance at the Marciac Jazz Festival (France) and has performed there every year since then. In 1997 he won the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Blood on the Fields and in 2008 he composed and performed Abyssinian 200: A Celebration to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of this Harlem Baptist church.

In 2009, the city of Vitoria awarded him the Gold Medal and he received the insignia of Knight of the Legion of Honor (the highest award granted by the French government).