How does Wynton Marsalis preserve Louis Armstrong’s Legacy?

Did Wynton Marsalis preserve Louis Armstrong's Legacy?

Wynton Marsalis was born on October 18, 1961, in New Orleans. He started playing the trumpet at 12. When he got to high school he performed in local marching bands, jam bands, funk bands, and classical orchestras. At 18 he attended the Juilliard School in New York. In the summer of 1980, he signed his first record deal. Within the 20 years of being with Columbia Records, he won nine Grammys and was the first jazz musician to be honored with the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 1997 recording Blood on the Fields. Marsalis serves as Artistic Director for the internationally-recognized Jazz at Lincoln Center.


Marsalis tries to show that just because Jazz is not as popular as it was back then does not mean Jazz doesnt hold great value. “Things come around in cycles, and you should never discard those things because they decline in popularity.”

Louis Armstrong introduced jazz to millions of people. Music today would be much different if it wasn’t for Louis Armstong’s contributions. 

 Armstrong was born in New Orleans on August 4, 1901. At 13 Armstrong shot his stepfather’s pistol on New Year’s Eve on a dareand was sent to a reform school. There he learned horn skills from a teacher.He eventually got into a band with one of his hero, Joe “King” Oliver, moving him to Chicago and then New York, where he had become a sensation in 1925, changing the way people thought about jazz.

Marsalis preserves what Armstrong has created when he plays and serves as managing and artistic director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra where there is a 15 player ensemble. “ We play the entire history of jazz from all periods until now, with improvisers in every position,” says Marsalis. So people can remember what it is and why Armstrong’s contributions were so great. 


Marsalis became who he is by keeping true to what Jazz really was and what Armstrong try to make it which is why he rose to the top.“Jazz is an art form, and we constantly have to contemplate it, learn from it, be more creative and infuse it with sophistication,” Marsalis says. However, being creative with Jazz music we still don’t want to move away from what jazz truly is just because it is not “popular” at that moment. People now sacrifice all the values of what Jazz making it not a genre of Jazz anymore. By being in the Lincoln Center Orchestra he helps remind people about those values.

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