To a Young Jazz Musician
Letters from the Road
Publication Date: November 8, 2005
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In To a Young Jazz Musician, the renowned jazz musician and Pulitzer Prize—winning composer Wynton Marsalis gives us an invaluable guide to making good music–and to leading a good life.
Writing from the road “between the bus ride, the sound check, and the gig,”
Marsalis passes on wisdom gained from experience, addressed to a young musician coming up–and to any of us at any stage of life. He writes that having humility is a way to continue to grow, to listen, and to learn; that patience is necessary for developing both technical proficiency and your own art rather than an imitation of someone else’s; and that rules are indispensable because “freedom lives in structure.”
He offers lessons learned from his years as a performer and from his great forebears Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and others; he explores the art of swing; he discusses why it is important to run toward your issues, not away; and he talks about what to do when your integrity runs up against the lack thereof in others and in our culture. He poetically expresses our need for healers: “All of it tracks back to how you heal your culture, one patient at a time, beginning with yourself.”
This is a unique book, in which a great artist offers his personal thoughts, both on jazz and on how to live a better, more original, productive, and meaningful life. To a Young Jazz Musician is sure to be treasured by readers young and old, musicians, lovers of music, and anyone interested in being mentored by one of America’s most influential, generous, and talented artists.
WYNTON MARSALIS was born in New Orleans, and went on to study at the Juilliard School of Music. He is now the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis has won nine Grammy awards in both jazz and classical categories. In 1987, Marsalis’s oratorio on slavery and freedom, Blood on the Fields, became the first and, to date, only jazz composition to win the Pulitzer Prize in music.
SELWYN SEYFU HINDS is the former editor in chief of The Source magazine and is currently the executive editor of Savoy magazine. He is the author of the memoir Gunshots in My Cook-Up: Bits and Bites from a Hip-Hop Caribbean Life, and his articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, Spin, Vibe, and other publications.