Christmas is the perfect time for big bands. So says Wynton Marsalis, who will bring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to the Lied Center for Performing Arts Friday for a concert filled with holiday classics.
“It’s the one time in the year, now, that families are not segregated into markets to sell them products,” Marsalis told St. Louis public radio. “Though Christmas is the most commercial time of year, it’s also the time of year where regardless of who you are, you are put into the position of having to hear music that is not targeted to your generation. So it’s perfect for a big band.
"And these are all familiar songs, and there’s a tradition. And a big band is a traditional ensemble in the United States of America. Like the orchestra is, or like the concert band is.”
The 15-piece Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will be joined by two guest vocalists doing big-band versions of, to pick a few songs, ”Silent Night,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “We Three Kings of Orient Are” and “All I Want for Christmas are My Two Front Teeth.”
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Those numbers will take the acclaimed trumpeter back to his childhood in New Orleans, growing up with his father, pianist Ellis, and brothers saxophonist Branford, trombonist Delfeayo and the little brother, drummer Jason.
“Christmas was always about the songs,” Marsalis told the Kansas City Star. “Being from a family of musicians, I was always aware of all the fantastic songs. And all the TV shows. We didn’t have a million stations, so you know, different shows, like 'A Charlie Brown Christmas’ or 'The Grinch' would come on.”
Friday’s concert, one of the highlights of the Lied Center’s 30th Anniversary, will mark the return of Marsalis for the third time -- he played there during the 20th and 25th anniversary seasons as well.
That aside, landing the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra show, was big for the Lied.
“It’s a super cool show,” said Matthew Boring, Lied’s associate director of marketing and patron development. “It’s a big Christmas thing. They do it every year at Lincoln Center and only tour it on a very limited basis. We’re lucky to get it.”
A limited number of tickets remain for the concert. Tickets start at $40 and are available at the Lied Center box office, liedcenter.org and by phone at 402-472-4747.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or email@example.com. On Twitter @KentWolgamott