The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #78
Wynton Marsalis (b. 1961)
The importance of jazz as a musical reflection of life in New York City culture and African-American culture cannot be overstated. Therefore, the position of Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center is one of New York’s most significant cultural titles and Wynton Marsalis, the man who holds it, one of the city’s most important movers and shakers. A co-founder of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Marsalis is a genius on the trumpet who performed with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers at age 19. At 34, he joined the likes of Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and Gian Carlo Menotti, as a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, his oratorio Blood on the Fields making him the first jazz musician to win the award. He has also won the National Medal of the Arts and nine Grammy Awards.
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