ELKHART — Wynton Marsalis’ trumpet gleamed under the golden spotlight at the Lerner Theatre as he brought the music of legendary artists like Duke Ellington and Count Basie to the Elkhart Jazz Festival.
Marsalis played with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on Saturday, June 22, to a packed house that oohed and aahed every time the New Orleans-born musician introduced a new song. The concert was part of a summer world tour celebrating the orchestra’s 25th anniversary.
“We grew up seeing your name on everything we loved,” Marsalis told the audience, referring to Elkhart’s reputation as the band instrument capital of the world.
Among the crowd of excited jazz fans was Christina Morris, who brought along her sister and father, who was born in Marsalis’ hometown. Morris said that having a musician as well-known as Marsalis headlining the jazz festival in downtown Elkhart is a sign of good things to come.
“It’s rare for someone of his stature to be here,” she said. “He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning, Grammy Award-winning artist. It blows my mind.”
Jazz festival patron ticket holder Al Floyd traveled from Edwardsburg, Mich., for the concert. A regular listener of the Jazz at Lincoln Center radio show, Floyd has followed Marsalis’ music for years.
“He’s one of the most outstanding trumpeters in the world,” Floyd said, adding that he is continually impressed by the musicianship and diversity of the orchestra.
The Elkhart Jazz Festival will continue at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 23, with performances by local and nationally touring acts at six venues set up downtown, including a public stage at Civic Plaza on Main Street.