Friday, September 26, 2008

Movado's Ambassador, Wynton Marsalis.

Since 1998, Wynton Marsalis has been an ambassador for Movado. He is said to be the best jazz musician and trumpeter of his generation. As I am writing this blog I am listening to his incredible trumpetering, and as always I am amazed at his incredible agility and talent. He knows the trumpet like no one I have ever seen. Not only is he one of the worlds top classical trumpeters, he is a brilliant composer, a tireless advocate for the arts, and a inspirational educator.

When we are greeted with great talent like Wynton Marsalis, it is only natural that we are curious. To be the best in a world of good is to reach the stars.
Wynton was born, on October 18, 1961, to Ellis and Doloris Marsalis in New Orleans where the sound of jazz envelopes the city. He was the second of six sons. One of his brothers is autistic. He was drawn to music from an early age, and he was good at it. Better than good. At 8 he began performing traditional New Orleans music, and incredibly when he was only 14 he was invited to perform for New Orleans Philharmonic. Throughout high school, he was a member of a number of bands including the New Orleans Symphony Brass Quintet. On weekends he played in a jazz band as well as a popular funk band, the Creators. He was music to the core. AT 17 he became the youngest musician ever to be admitted to Tanglewood's Berkshire Music Center. Even though he was very young, he was awarded with a prestigious award from the school, the Harvey Shapiro Award for an outstanding brass student.

In 1979 he moved to New York to study at Julliard, and he became playing in gigs in the Big Apple.
Talent like Wynton Marsalis cannot be kept under wraps for too long, and soon enough people were talking.
In 1980 he joined the Jazz Messengers where he had the opportunity to study under the master drummer and band leader, Art Blakey. Art Blakey taught him how to bring an intensity to each and every performance. In the following years, he was invited to perform with Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sweet Edison, Clark Terry and many other jazz greats.

Marsalis formed his own band, performing 120 concerts every year. He continued for 10 years perfecting his talent and determining how best to give his audience. In essence, in these years he gave a new vitality to jazz and rekindled the publics interest in jazz. It seems he had his work cut out for him, but during this time Marsalis spent as much time composing as playing. He created major compositions for the New York City Ballet, Twyla Tharp for the American Ballet Theater.
He also had an affinity for Classical Music and his debut recording of classical trumpet concertos won him a Grammy for "Best Classical Soloist with an Orchestra" He has performed with the New York Philharmonic and countless other orchestras.
Marsalis has won nine Grammy's , in 1983 winning a jazz and classical Grammy in the same year and doing the same in 1984. In 1997 he became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music. He is a teacher and spokesman of music and has received honorary doctorates from universities through out the US.

On March 20,2001, Wynton Marsalis was named United Nations Messenger of Peace by Secratary General Kofi Annan.

When Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Wynton heeded the desperate calls of his fellow citizens and organized organized the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief concert (produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center) thereby raising and distributing over $3M to musicians and cultural organizations crushed by the hurricane. In addition, he headed an organization called the Bring Back New Orleans Cultural Commission. In which a plan was set in place to revitalize the city’s cultural base. Since Katrina, Wynton has been a constant advocate for Hurricane Katrina survivors, to bring hope an will as well finding resources to rebuild New Orleans culturally, socially and economically.

Wynton Marsalis has just released a new book , "“Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life,”.

Movado has chosen well. Very Well.

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