Marsalis Swing Symphony performed on the 23 of September 2010 at Lincoln Center,

a review of sorts by Greg Henry Waters


Wynton does it again. What I do not understand is that his continued presents on the past in jazz history. I believe Wynton is the outstanding studio jazz musicians not an original one.


His piece goes through all the periods of jazz history up to the be-bop era from rag-time to Latin.


The orchestra is very interesting in that he calls it the Swing Symphony, but in the 50 minute piece I heard very little swing or ride cymbal feel in this composition. Instead I heard Broadway orchestration, Scott Joblin, Dixie land, a lot of wood block effects, sax section movements, with 1940 styles solos, New Orleans really had an effect on him that is for sure. He left out modern jazz in this piece which maybe be a good thing. Really not sure in this era of music pollution. In the short interview I heard he explains all of this. I am wondering who he is trying to please, old ladies, students, jazz history buffs?


I must say I really don't get it.


His orchestration of his jazz orchestra was more woodwind style rather than the brass style of a Maynard Ferguson. But maybe Wynton doesn't think Maynard is a jazz artist. He used all kinds of mutes in the brass and made his band sound more orchestral. He featured each section of his band, saxes, trombones, trumpets at different times. I believe this comes from his classical back ground I am sure of that.

A+ for his orchestration that is for sure.


Jazz musicians do not have the solid educational history that classical musicians do. They concentrate on improvisation and sound style. Not on the exercises of a classical musicians training.


Wynton worked really hard on this piece, he said 20 hours a day for six months. I think maybe 16 at the most. Well, he even counted the notes.


You know North Texas University has a jazz program and they have 9 jazz bands perform everyday for an hour 4 days a week. My question is what are they doing with new music and jazz? Wynton is just bringing the past into the present. How about placing the present in the present. Of course with all this music pollution we have, I think everybody has a different idea. You place five jazz musicians in a band and you have five different bands. It is so polluted with egos that is for sure. I do not have a fix just a question.


Jorge Sylvester, stated, "jazz circles lately to repertory and history have perpetrated a false impression that every contemporary musician only makes tribute albums or just records standards." Please read his article on my notes page at facebook/gwatersusa. I have learned to distaste jazz because of its pollution of everything and this idea of tribute music. Jazz was never a tribute music but an attempt to express oneself in a new and original way. An at the same time trying to reach the average public with their music.


Everybody is into Saturday night live jazz, pop jazz, fusion jazz, rock jazz, Broadway jazz. Jazz is so watered down with so many other venues and styles and Wynton's piece is certainly an example of it.


So I have turned to flute music which I believe is still a pure form of new music. They are inventing new instruments, experimental ones, new styles of improvisation music, and have a pure policy of friendship not based on race.


I just don't understand how a piece can be a new piece of music when it is based on older forms of music.  Wynton must be an arranger more than a composer I believe. Anyway, he works so hard; I wrote an article about Wynton years ago and asked myself the same question when is he going to be his own artist?


Sincerely, Greg Henry Waters

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