Search

Music review: Abyssinan Mass – Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Barbican

15:48 27 July 2012

The Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis perform at the Barbican. 
Photo by Mark Allan

The Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis perform at the Barbican. Photo by Mark Allan

Archant

Sixty-strong choir lifts Marsalis’s journey through jazz history

»Wynton Marsalis’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is a formidable beast and surely one of the tightest ensembles around.

Having held a Barbican residency a couple of years ago, it returned as part of the all-encompassing Cultural Olympiad – following the like of Blanchett and Bond as another big name draw in the centre’s super-charged 2012 programme.

The second in a series of four collaborations, which also saw the orchestra share the Barbican stage with the London Symphony Orchesta, the Mass had Marsalis’s troops joined by the 60-voice Barbican Mass Choir.

Composed by Marsalis, the work is supposed to be something of a journey through jazz history, and to this end we have swing, blues, hard bop, modal and even Latin passages.

While it certainly covers a fair bit of ground, it’s very much Marsalis’s famously purist version of events; there are certainly no forays into Ornette Coleman-esque freewheeling.

It begins with the singers lining the aisles, a spine-tingling device that bathes the audience in sound, as simple call and response phrases ring out. It’s a bit of a shame when they move to the stage.

The presence of the choir creates an exciting mix and the singers stars of the show, ensuring there’s no danger of straying into a mundane exposition of jazz styles.

The first half is especially effective, with some soaring, moving stuff from the solo vocalists. After the interval, while there are further highlights, the 15-piece orchestra at times fixates on some fairly bland melodic material.

But there’s enough here to make for a compelling evening, very much lifted by the choir’s presence.

0 comments

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Yesterday, 17:00
The Caretaker at the Old Vic. Picture: Manuel Harlan

Of all the shows that Harold Pinter has influenced, Steptoe and Son wouldn’t spring to mind, yet the first half hour of The Caretaker is almost exactly that; a generational odd couple skirting round each other’s anxieties in a filthy, ramshackle apartment.

Yesterday, 12:00
captain america

One of Marvel’s cleverest achievements was the sly way they brought their most problematic figure, Captain America, to the screen by turning the jingoistic flag waver into a representative of the country’s lost ideals.

Yesterday, 11:40
Field Day in Victoria Park

Bringing politics into music can be a dangerous game. As much as the likes of Billy Bragg and The Killing Joke have found enduring success, there is an equal risk in becoming known as a rent-a-gob, and descending into caricature.

Yesterday, 08:00
The Flick. Picture: Mark Douet

In the States, Annie Baker is the biggest thing since sliced bread – buttered with Bard.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read entertainment

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe