Yes, Wynton Marsalis has soul. The knee-jerk criticism of the 51-year-old jazz trumpeter ever since his self-titled 1981 album has been that, while always technically impeccable, his playing lacks soulful spirit.
â€śIâ€™ve never heard anything Wynston played sound like it meant anything at all,â€ť pianist Keith Jarrett once toldÂ The New York Times.
And so itâ€™s somewhat ironic that this month should see the debut of bothÂ The Spiritual Side of Wynton Marsalis (a collection of spiritually inspired works) and Abyssian: A Gospel Celebration, a nationwide tour.
Marsalisâ€”Pulitzer Prize-winning artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Centerâ€”composed â€śAbyssinian Massâ€ť to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Harlemâ€™s storied Abyssinian Baptist Church back in 2008. Now, he and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra join the 70-piece Chorale le ChĂ˘teau and conductor Damien Sneed on a 16-city tour (October 3 – 27), performing a spirited admixture of gospel and jazz.