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To a Young Jazz Musician: Letters from the Road

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  95 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In To a Young Jazz Musician, the renowned jazz musician and Pulitzer Prize—winning composer Wynton Marsalis gives us an invaluable guide to making good music–and to leading a good life.
Writing from the road “between the bus ride, the sound check, and the gig,”

Marsalis passes on wisdom gained from experience, addressed to a young musician coming up–and to any of us at any
ebook, 144 pages
Published March 12th 2009 by Random House (first published 2004)
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A 5-star little treasure. Marsalis writes from the road to a young musician he is mentoring. His style is engaging, candid, and has deep truth and insight. He starts with a thought that can sum up what he addresses in the rest of the book - "See, that's the main thing younger people want to know - is it okay to be themselves, as musicians, as human beings?" I think we are all asking that question - Is it ok to be me? Marsalis is a great companion for the journey for any musician, artist, or deep ...more
Lynn Wilson
Apr 28, 2008 Lynn Wilson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Letters written by Marsalis to a young man he is mentoring, this book is full of wisdom about life beyond music. Full of advice about staying true to one's authentic self while contributing to the culture. I would recommend this book to everyone who is venturing out into the world, and to those who have questions once out there. Well-written, heartfelt, a keeper.
This book consists of Wynton's half of an epistolary exchange (that takes place while Wynton is on a tour in 2003) with a young jazz musician who had recently moved from Oklahoma to New York. The young man's questions send Wynton off onto thorough articulations of the philosophy of being a (jazz) musician.
He touches on the need for humility and integrity, commitment and persistence. Wynton mentions his belief that the quest to become a better musician is the same as the quest to know ones' self
I love jazz so I thought this book would be interesting. I read about 2/3s of it and then went on to other books for a year or so. Recently, I picked it up again and finished it. He did have a lot of good things to say about life that would apply to anyone, musical or not. I liked the last chapter the best. Maybe because it was more about his life.
Josh  Giunta
A beautiful book. Wynton possesses and shares the dignity that all musicians & artists should aspire to carry. A great read for any creative person in any field, and those interested in American ideals and culture.
Chuck Jackson
While the opening contains language that younger teens may be surprised at, the letters address real topics in a real way. He is supposedly writing to a 19 year old who moved to NYC to play music so some of the specifics may not relate to kids I know but it is nonetheless worthwhile.
Andreas Steffen
There is no short-cut to jazz improvisation. Marsalis preaches that it's all about hard-work, constant reflection and finding the right way of practising. I enjoyed the intimate form of a letter exchange!
Hector Gallegos
It's like being inside Wynton's head. Highly recommend! You no longer wonder what it would be like to have a conversation with Wynton. You can very well imagine these letters being addressed to you.
Full of thoughts on life and jazz. I picked this up at the same time I started the Ken Burns "Jazz" series and hadn't realized Marsalis was interviewed for the series too.
Warren Benton
This was a pretty neat book. Marsalis now as the old dog is writing to a young musician like he once was, He talks of things you need to really learn to be a great musician.

Review to follow.

"And that's the soulful thing about playing: you offer something to somebody. You don't know if they'll like it, but you offer it. " P 110
Anyone that considers themselves a musician of any genre whould READ THIS BOOK. It causes you to question your motives, actions and your charater.
Dec 25, 2008 Trey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, Music Lovers
Shelves: own
One of my favorite books! A truly inspirational book that focuses on the inner journey of becoming a true musician.
Devin Porter
I'm certainly not young, but I found it inspiring nonetheless
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Wynton Marsalis has been described as the most outstanding jazz artist and composer of his generation. He has helped propel jazz to the forefront of American culture through his brilliant performances, recordings, broadcasts, and compositions as well as through his leadership as the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC). Wynton Marsalis is the music director of the world-renowned Linc ...more
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“And that's the soulful thing about playing: you offer something to somebody. You don't know if they'll like it, but you offer it.” 13 likes
“And the thing about jazz, through all the business involved in practicing and improvement, it's always sweet: the improvement that you notice in the ability to express yourself, the feeling of playing, pushing yourself out into an open space through a sound, man. That's an unbelievable feeling, an uplifting feeling of joy to be able to express the range of what you feel and see, have felt and have seen. A lot of this has nothing to do with you. It comes from another time, another space. To be able to channel those things and then project them though an instrument, that's something that brings unbelievable joy.” 5 likes
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