GUEST BLOG: Jazz
*Admissions note: from time to time, we have the pleasure of having guest bloggers share special topics and departments that might otherwise be left out, given our current bloggers. The following blog is written by Juilliard Jazz saxophonist Ruaridh Pattison.
On Wednesday, February 25, 2015 the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra gave its 3rd performance of the academic year The Activist Benny Goodman and The Ambassador Duke Ellington: Democracy at Home and Around the World. The title refers to the fact that Benny Goodman was one of the pioneers of integration on the bandstand and that Ellington, due to his many far-flung world tours, became a representative for American culture and informed many across of the globe of what it meant to be a quintessential, beautiful American.
The concert was also significant in that it illustrated the book ends of Juilliard Jazz. The first half was led by clarinetist Victor Goines, the first ever director of the program whilst the second half was led by the recently appointed director, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. It is also worth noting that Goines and Marsalis have been working together for twenty two years in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and that they go as far back as kindergarten.
As part of Juilliard’s technological initiative the concert was live streamed on the internet and was watched by over 850 people across the world. The concert was uploaded to the Juilliard YouTube channel in its entirety and may be viewed here. Over 1500 views and counting!
It was a truly enlightening experience to get the opportunity to work with two musicians of such gravity as Wynton Marsalis and Victor Goines. Both men were incredibly knowledgeable about the music they were conducting and both had much to say that elevated the band to new heights. I thought the concert was a grand success and I have to give a special mention to Joseph Doubleday on the vibraphone, who channeled Lionel Hampton and much more, and Julian Lee who led the saxophone section with aplomb beyond his years.