Friday, March 4, 2011

Making a Difference...

"Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp," Psalm 150:1-3.

Thank God for blessing many of us with the ability to entertain through film, books, and music. This is the month where I present my brand new book, The Eleventh Hour, the third installment of The Fiery Furnace series.

The Eleventh Hour is a title symbolic of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness to the youth as well as the elderly. There are many who have been saved since childhood, but often we do find those who accept Christ in their golden years. Either way, it is all good because God forgives whether we’re nine years old or seventy-nine years old. And in this book, it is my prayer that many will consider forgiving others in the same manner that God forgives us. A brief description of the forthcoming novel is detailed below.

Later in this issue, get an inside look at well known Jazz trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis, through an article written by contributing writer, Renarda Williams. Marsalis' contribution to the arts is well noted and an inspiration to the aspiring musician.


The Eleventh Hour (March 2011)
ISBN: 978-1-934195-53-6

Backed against a wall with time running out...

Challenged by the recent discovery of past events, Jermaine holds fast knowing that God wouldn’t bring him this far … just to leave him. He’s new in the faith, but determined to live a life pleasing to the Lord. Just when a ray of light breaks through the turmoil, Jermaine receives yet another debilitating blow that attempts to change his life forever. Will he be able to endure the trial that stretches his faith to the limit?

Moving into a new phase of life, Nia Thomas reveals a piece of her past for the sake of sanity … but is there something else she’s holding back? Racing against the hands of time, Nia comes to term with the fact that the whole truth must be told. Determined to break free from bondage, she must first learn how to forgive. Will Nia surrender all that she has for a future of peace or hold onto what’s old and familiar?

The final piece of the puzzle lies within the eleventh hour. But first, check out the previous titles in The Fiery Furnace series: The Kiss of Judas & Confessions ...

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
By Renarda Williams

The world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) with Wynton Marsalis performs a vast repertoire to Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC)-commissioned works, including compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and others to audiences nationally and worldwide.

JALC is dedicated to inspiring and growing audiences for jazz. JALC advances a unique vision for the continued development of the art of jazz by producing a year-round schedule of performances, education and broadcast events for audiences of all ages. The productions include concerts, national and international tours, television broadcasts, recordings, jazz appreciation curriculum for students, and adult education courses. Education is a major part of JALC's mission and its educational activities are coordinated with concert and JLCO tour programming.

In 1987, Wynton Marsalis co-founded a jazz program at Lincoln Center. Marsalis is the artistic director of JALC. He is also the music director of JLCO. He spends over a third of the year on tour with JLCO. One of this year's Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis tours was at the University of Central Arkansas's Reynolds Performance Hall in Conway, Arkansas. The orchestra performed to a sold out audience. They started off with Inaki's Decision, a song from their album Vitoria Suite (which featured Paco De Lucia), that was recorded in Spain. This amazing piece of music had an up-tempo beat, and the orchestra was in a rhythmical sequence. There was also an array of solos: from the trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, flute, bass, piano, and drums. Once the group finished, Marsalis jokingly told the audience, "We were so caught up in the moment [to the point] where we did not want to stop."

JLCO played Ted Nash's Portrait in Seven Shades that began with trumpeter Marcus Printup's solo, and then there was Nash's solo. Afterwards, Printup used his trumpet sounds to chase Nash's saxophones sounds. They were so remarkable to the point where the audience did not know what Printup and Nash were playing.

Trumpeter Marsalis, trombonist Vincent Gardner, saxophonist/clarinetist Victor Goines, drummer Ali Jackson, pianist Dan Nimmer, and bassist Carlos Henriquez performed a piece entitled Weary Blues. The song was filled with a "taste of New Orleans." Gardner opened up with a low-up-tempo trombone solo; then, Goines played a soothing clarinet solo. Jackson's drumming and Nimmer's piano playing were outstanding. Marsalis played a "dynamic" trumpet solo that electrified the audience. At one point, during his solo, Marsalis was so energized in playing, to where he had to shake his head and smile to the audience. Out of all the songs JLCO played, there were two that highlighted the evening. And they were: Itsi Bitsy Spider and Old McDonald Had a Farm. It appeared as if the orchestra was telling the audience two "nursery rhyme" stories through jazz music.

I've followed Marsalis' career since 1982, the debut of his first album, Wynton Marsalis, during my junior year at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette). I interviewed Marsalis, via telephone, for the Monroe Free Press newspaper in Monroe, Louisiana in August 2000. Ever since then, through his assistant Genevieve Stewart, at Wynton Marsalis Enterprises in New York City, I've kept in contact with him. Before the UCA concert, the last time we met was in April 2002. He performed at ULL's Angelle Hall, where I worked during my freshman and sophomore years.

Marsalis, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana (just like JLCO member Victor Goines) began his classical training at age 12; and he soon began playing in local bands of diverse genres. He entered Julliard School at age 17 and joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. To date, Marsalis has recorded more than 70 jazz and classical albums, which have garnered him nine Grammy Awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz Grammy Awards in the same year. He repeated this feat in 1984.

Marsalis rich body of compositions includes Sweet Release; Jazz: Six Syncopated Movements; Jump Start and Jazz; Citi Movement/Griot New York; At the Octoroon Balls and In House, On This Morning and Big Train. In 1997, he became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields was commissioned by JALC. In 1999, Marsalis released eight new recordings in his unprecedented Swinging into the 21st series. He also premiered several new compositions, including the ballet Them Twos, for collaboration with the New York City Ballet. Also, he premiered the monumental work All Rise, commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, along with the JLCO and the Morgan State University Choir. Sony Classical released All Rise on CD in 2002.

To mark the 200th Anniversary of Harlem's historical Abyssinian Baptist Church in 2008, Marsalis composed a full mass for choir and jazz orchestra. The piece premiered at JALC and followed with performances at the celebrated church.

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In Closing,

I thank God for those who use their musical talents for the good. At times, it helps me through work-outs and long distance travels. May God guide each of us in the use of the gifts He's afforded to us. We can all make a difference ... for the better.

In Jesus Name,

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