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All that jazz: Jazz legend performs in SA


Jazz great Wynton Marsalis this weekend performs at South Africa’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival.

The internationally-acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader and educator is arguably the biggest jazz artist to perform in South Africa to date.

Marsalis is the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum.

His works range from the New Orleans roots of jazz, to bebop and to modern jazz.

In this musical journey, he has created and performed an expansive range of brilliant new music for quartets, big bands, chamber music ensembles, symphony orchestras, tap dance and ballet.

This way, Marsalis has expanded the vocabulary for jazz and created a vital body of work that places him among the world’s finest jazz and classical musicians and composers.

According to his online biography, Marsalis has been conferred with many honours and accolades. He has won nine Grammy Awards and in 1983 and 1984 he became the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical music.

He is also the only artist to win Grammy Awards for five consecutive years (1983–1987).

The legendary trumpeter is the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1997 for his epic oratorio, Blood On The Fields.

Marsalis has toured more than 30 countries on every continent except Antarctica. Nearly five million copies of his recordings have been sold worldwide.

Marsalis has received honorary degrees from New York University, Columbia, Harvard, Howard, the State University of New York, Princeton and Yale.

He was honoured with the Louis Armstrong Memorial Medal and the Algur H Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts.

He was inducted into the American Academy of Achievement and was dubbed an Honorary Dreamer by the I Have a Dream Foundation.

The New York Urban League awarded Marsalis with the Frederick Douglass Medallion for distinguished leadership and the American Arts Council presented him with the Arts Education Award.

Internationally the trumpeter was proclaimed an international ambassador of goodwill for the United States when United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him a UN Messenger of Peace (2001).

The French Ministry of Culture appointed Wynton the rank of Knight in the Order of Arts and Literature.

He also received France’s highest distinction, the insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, an honour that was first awarded by Napoleon Bonaparte.

In 1996, Britain’s Royal Academy of Music made Marsalis an honorary member, the Academy’s highest decoration for a non-British citizen.

Marsalis also won the Netherlands’ Edison Award and the Grand Prix du Disque of France.

In 1995 he made Time magazine’s list of promising Americans under the age 40 and in 1996, the magazine included Marsalis on its list of 25 of America’s most influential people.

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