What a FamilyNorm pointed me to this excellent interview - excellent in that Wynton Marsalis is clearly someone with standards and some amazing talent. I have a CD with Wynton Marsalis playing the Haydn trumpet concerto, a fine piece of toe-tapping derring-do. I have none of his jazz CDs and figure I am likely missing something.
So first his standards:
Now, I know what it's like to really be called a nigger for real, by black and white people. I'm not interested in presenting that to the world as my expression. And I have to make the point to the younger people in rap, we was black in the '60s, man. We were black in 1974. We wasn't waiting for y'all to tell us what it was to be black. You're a guy from the Something Housing Project with limited education and now you're going to tell me what it means to be a black person in America? Man, you must really think you're in a video.
And the talent:
Q: So in terms of your own talent, what do you think was more valuable to you — was it the physical tools or was it that mindset that you had to get better?
A: I think my greatest attribute was the ability to understand what was going on. I don't know why, I could deduce. Like, when I was 13, I could listen to a Beethoven symphony and I could understand, first theme, second, third theme, the development section, so it kind of made me advance, gave me more of an understanding than other kids.
Wow! I had to read books to get that - and still fight listening to the great classical composers trying to pick all these elements out. I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy.
Why my subject line? His family is delightfully contagious - check the Harry Connick, Jr. article here.