Magazine article Newsweek

A Trumpeter Unmuted

Magazine article Newsweek

A Trumpeter Unmuted

Article excerpt

Byline: Allison Samuels

Wynton Marsalis gives a piece or two of his mind to NEWSWEEK's Allison Samuels.

SAMUELS: Does New York really need yet another place to hear jazz?

MARSALIS: There are a lot of jazz clubs in New York, and we support them. But we wanted this place to embody jazz and the democratic spirit of the music. We also wanted it to help the music thrive by having an educational program. And that meant having the space to teach, to hold performances not only for seasoned artists --but also for younger, upcoming artists, and a place to celebrate our elders.

Some critics say that by paying tribute to such legends as Coltrane and Monk, you hinder the growth of new artists.

You can't go forward without history, and if we can't celebrate our history and the history of the music--that's a truly sad day. I always felt like my generation never did anything in terms of great art--or if we did, I missed it. If you look around today, there are many more students of jazz than there were in my generation.

Do African-Americans truly appreciate this art form?

Well, we have a pretty uncultured leadership, by and large--and that's for all groups. But Afro-Americans don't support the arts in general, and that's sad. It's been true for a long time. It's hard to get the African-American audience out for the arts. I know, because I'm out there working with kids and trying to get them involved. I'm not in some glass tower looking down. I'm always around our people, and I see that the knowledge is not being given to make this culture ascend. …

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