Dressed to impress and “excited to perform,” Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra — presented by Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts — presented a virtual showcase of Southern jazz music last week.
Available to stream via YouTube, the event was free to all members of the Penn State community and featured plenty of sights and sounds.
Performing part of their “Hope, Resist, Heal” musical series, the group began with a song paying tribute to “that first ship that landed on American soil, 1619, and all the brothers and sisters after,” said Marsalis, nodding at the turn. point of slavery.
After the opening song, “Doing What We Gotta Do”, Marsalis introduced the individual members of the orchestra with personal anecdotes.
Herlin Riley is the “funkiest drummer in the country, the master of the groove”, said Marsalis, and Terrance “Hollywood” Taplin is “the man, the myth, the legend”.
With varied members, stories and a “family feel”, the orchestra continued with jazzy and snazzy tunes.
While singing for “Street Parade”, Andrew “Tiger” Baham showed off some moves, engaging the orchestra members and amplifying the musical vibes.
“Everybody move your hips,” Baham sang.
Continuing with the song “All On A Mardi Gras Day,” the band members clapped together and sported Mardi Gras beads.
The show continued with “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” – bringing in singer Tonya Boyd-Cannon and playing an “air [to] take us back to the 60s,” Marsalis said. “It really captures that moment.”
After six more tracks, the group closed with “Valley of Prayers”, which Marsalis said was “composed for a celebration of an 1811 slave revolt”, reinforcing the act of resistance.
Marsalis closed the event by thanking everyone who watched, smiling ear to ear.
“Thank you,” tnuuza2 commented on the stream. “I needed this.”
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