Montclair State University jazz ensemble hits high note with master class from musical legend

MONTCLAIR, New Jersey (WABC) -- A legend took the reins leading the Montclair State University Jazz Ensemble on Wednesday.

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has been teaching music for more than 40 years the way his father Ellis taught him - with passion and depth.

"The music is very important to the American mythology and identity, when I see young people that serious, of course the music, you're gonna see improvement," Marsalis said.

He took time to connect with each musician and implored them to pour who they are into every note.

Marsalis will be on campus through Thursday and will take part in a brass master class, a discussion on composition and arranging, a master class for all School of Music students and a "Behind the Scenes with Wynton" Cali Conversation.

The idea of this program was born out of having to shut down during the pandemic. Music programs were placed on back burners as venues went silent.



Tony Mazzocchi is the director of Montclair State's Cali School of Music.

"During COVID I started thinking about all of these artists were out of work, these concert halls were shuttered, and K-12 took the arts and put it over to the side, and it gave me great pause to think about what we should be training, educating our students to do here," Mazzocchi said.

For the jazz ensemble, it was incredible to experience.

"One of the best things that he told us was to find our own philosophy and that really connected with me because without your own philosophy, there's no purpose, we all have a purpose and role," guitarist Derick Campos said.

"It was life changing and I will take all his words for the rest of my life," junior Nico Martin said.

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