That’s right, Wynton Marsalis has been performing the music of Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Hot Sevens all this week at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. And the best part is that they are being broadcast live, for free, over the internet! That’s right, free! Tickets for these events cost $350 and $500 — of course those include cocktails and a 4-course meal…but still, you can’t beat free!
I’ve watched three of the sets so far, and the music is sublimely transcendent. Wynton and his band do justice to the original recordings without trying to slavishly reproduce them, instead respectfully infusing the music with new life and new meaning while achieving a level of technical mastery and emotive artistry that is truly breathtaking. Missing these performances is like walking by Joshua Bell playing Bach’s Chaconne in the subway.
If you think jazz is a dead relic from the past, if you think Louis Armstrong is just some old guy who sang What a Wonderful World, if the only Marsalis you’ve heard of was the former leader of the Tonight Show band, then you absolutely must set aside an hour of your time to watch and listen to at least one of these performances — it just might change your life.
You have one more night to witness history in the making: Monday, December 31 at 7:30 and 11:00 pm EST. Watch them live here: http://wyntonmarsalis.org/live/ — you won’t be disappointed. And you missed it — but here’s a taste.
Update: although in my opinion it wasn’t their best set of the week, you can hear the band’s New Year’s Eve performance for NPR here: