Birthday Video Tribute – Wynton Marsalis

He’s arguably the most well-known and controversial jazz musician to come on the scene since 1980. He’s revered by many and reviled by almost as many.

He’s Wynton Marsalis – prodigiously gifted, passionate about the music and never at a loss for words. Today he is 50 years old.

Say what you want about him, but I can remember a time when some of the greatest jazz musicians ever to walk the earth were making disco records in order make a payday.

A lot of that changed when Wynton came on the scene  (with the full faith and credit of the Columbia Records publicity machine behind him). Suddenly, “real” jazz was cool and marketable again. Was it retro? Yeah; but it had heart and soul. And someone of my age was out there standing up for the jazz tradition.

Within a few short years, those who had loved Wynton passionately in 1982, had turned on him with a vengeance, but he has kept going, in spite of the haters.

He helped make straight ahead jazz relevant again, at a time when it was in danger of disappearing completely and we’re born on the same day, one year apart. Those are two reasons why I dig Wynton.

Here are a few performances from over the years, in tribute to “E. Skain Dankworth”.

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