Wynton Marsalis, the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, recently released a recording of “Blues Symphony (Symphony No. 2)” for The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Cristian Macelaru. This is the second symphony from Marsalis, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning director.
The symphony has seven beautiful movements, taking the listener through American history and folklore. There is a movement reflecting the beginnings of jazz in New Orleans as well as one that portrays the big city soundscape of the Great Migration. It is a celebration of American blues and is a kaleidoscopic history of music in our country.
Marsalis is the genius behind the symphony, and his imagination shines through in his work for The Philadelphia Orchestra. On the recording, Marsalis says, “The blues helps you remember back before the troubles on hand and in mind…and they carry you on the wings of angels to a timeless higher ground.” His music is powerful and is an exquisite ode to the blues and America’s musical roots.
This recording was from a live performance in 2019 in Verizon Hall at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. It builds upon the legacies of Scott Joplin, James P. Johnson, George Gershwin, and other American masters.
Blues Symphony (Symphony No. 2) movements:
- Born in Hope
- Swimming in Sorrow
- Reconstruction Bag
- Southwestern Shakedown
- Big City Breaks
- Danzón y Mambo, Choro y Samba
- Dialog in Democracy
About Blue Engine Records
Blue Engine Records, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s platform that makes its vast archive of recorded concerts available to jazz audiences everywhere, launched on June 30, 2015. Blue Engine Records releases new studio and live recordings as well as archival recordings from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s performance history that date back to 1987 and are part of the R. Theodore Ammon Archives and Music Library. Since the institution’s founding in 1987, each year’s programming is conceived and developed by Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis with a vision toward building a comprehensive library of iconic and wide-ranging compositions that, taken together, make up a canon of music. These archives include accurate, complete charts for the compositions – both old and new – performed each season. Coupled with consistently well-executed and recorded music performed by Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, this archive has grown to include thousands of songs from hundreds of concert dates. The launch of Blue Engine is aligned with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s efforts to cultivate existing jazz fans worldwide and turn new audiences onto jazz. For more information on Blue Engine Records, visit blueenginerecords.org.