Jazz At Lincoln Center To Perform US Premiere Of Wynton Marsalis’ ‘Shanghai Suite’ Tonight

Jazz at Lincoln Center is kicking off its 35thTh season tonight with the US premiere of Shanghai Suitecomposed by Wynton Marsalis, its managing and artistic director.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will perform the piece in Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York tonight and tomorrow night; it can also be heard on the orchestra’s new mobile app, Jazz Live.

The suite was first performed in Shanghai in 2019. The orchestra calls it “a musical meditation on ancient and modern China, inspired by that civilization’s rich mythology, cuisine and architecture, and set to the language of jazz rhythm.”

Shanghai Suite, the orchestra added, “joins iconic works by Wynton such as Congo Square, Vitoria Suite duck Marciac Suitethat refract impressions gleaned on his travels, as Duke Ellington did on such late-period masterpieces as The Far East Suite, The Latin American Suite duck The New Orleans Suite.”

Marsalis also said, “Like Chinese music, the blues and all the early Afro-American spirituals – and Anglo-Celtic music – is based on pentatonic scales. A lot of things Wayne Shorter wrote for Art Blakey are based on a pentatonic scale. Of course, China has many more pentatonic scales than we do, and their use of them is much more sophisticated – different scales have different meanings.

“We’re always looking for connections between other traditions and our music, and we look forward to presenting these musical connections throughout the season in the House of Swing,” he added.

Ye Huang will be the guest clarinetist at the two concerts tonight and tomorrow night.

In an interview this week, Huang—who is 24; was born in Shenzhen, China; has lived in the United States since he was 11; and graduated in 2020 from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied jazz performance—said that before World War II, Shanghai was the cultural center of China. He also said jazz and Western music in general have become very popular in China in recent years, as Western musicians tour there.

When Marsalis’ Shanghai Suite was performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, Huang served as an interpreter for the orchestra.

Huang’s family moved to New York when they left China; he studied at the Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts—made famous by Fame—and also participated in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s educational programs, including its Essentially Ellington program for high school students. His father is a musician who plays the saxophone and flute, introducing Huang to jazz at a very early age. Besides the clarinet, Huang plays the saxophone and piano.


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