I am excited and (to be honest) a little nervous about an upcoming premier: Wynton Marsalis’ The Jungle. It has been written for a collaboration between the NY Philharmonic and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Performances are December 28th-30th and January 3rd.
Wynton is not famous for turning in his commissions ahead of time, and the past few weeks has been a very intense time for my brother. During our last couple tours all of Wynton’s free time was dedicated to getting The Jungle finished in time for it to be copied and delivered to the NY Phil. There were bets whether it would be finished in time. But the doubters have not been victorious.
Over the past few days, as the music was being finished and copied, the parts for us (the JLCO) have been uploaded to a file-sharing site, and I haven’t even had time to look at them yet. Backstage, during recent concerts at Rose Hall, Sherman Irby (our lead alto saxophonist), sitting at his computer in the dressing room, would say “hey, here is some new music - just came in. Oh my God, look at this piccolo part.” Intervalic jumps, complicated rhythms. It looks like we’re going to have some fun!
Wynton also does not have a reputation for writing simple stuff to play. Some of the most technically and conceptually difficult music I have ever played come from the pen of Mr. Marsalis. But I look forward to challenge. The end result is always worth the effort.
In the past, like for All Rise, or Swing Symphony, we have had several days to rehearse before bringing it to the stage. For The Jungle we have one day of rehearsal. December 27th. That’s it.
I am always proud to be a part of Wynton’s vision; honored to be included in the innovative sonic output of this very creative man.
I hope you have a chance to hear this music at it’s premier next week. For more info and tickets: