Wynton's Progress

Although he is just 30, the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has been famous for over a decade now— long enough for some of us to forget that he hasn’t finished maturing. His greatest progress has been as a composer. In his score for the 1990 film Tune In Tomorrow, for example, he showed remarkable skill in extending Duke Ellington’s tone colors and traditional New Orleans polyphony into a modern idiom.

On May 27. Marsalis will present a new composition for his septet at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, in New York. Earlier in the month, at Alice Tully Hall, as part of his duties as artistic director of Lincoln Center’s jazz program, Marsalis will deliver a talk on the blues, sharing the podium with essayist and novelist Albert Murray. Given Marsalis’s outspokenness, this promises to be a lively evening. But not as lively as the premiere of what promises to be a major new work. —F.D.