About this Piece
Wynton Marsalis is the managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and a world-renowned trumpeter and composer. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12, entered the Juilliard School at age 17, and then joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He made his recording debut as a leader in 1982 and has since recorded more than 60 jazz and classical recordings, which have won him nine Grammy Awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz Grammys in the same year and repeated this feat in 1984. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz artist to be awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields, which was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Meeelaan, a work for bassoon and string quartet, was composed for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s bassoonist, Milan Turkovic. As a composer, Marsalis has been described by Allan Kozinn in The New York Times as “an eclectic, and in this piece, blues and jazz styles jostle with tango rhythms, bassoon figures that allude to The Rite of Spring, and string writing with … modern spikiness.” Describing the work’s U.S. premiere in December of 2001, the reviewer singled out various “touches to pique the interest—a lilting jazz melody in the opening “Blues” movement, and the rhythms of the “Bebop” finale.