Tim Van Schmidt | New SCENE
They announced it proudly from the stage. The recent sold-out show by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis was the first full capacity show at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins since the pandemic shutdown in 2020. The news was greeted with hearty applause and cheers from the completely masked and vaccinated audience.
But the cheers and applause didn’t end there. It continued all night long as the JALCOWWM punched through the pandemic blues with top-notch jazz charts and dramatic performances.
Marsalis MCed the event from the top riser, sitting in the trumpet section, rather than announcing from the front. And Marsalis played plenty of solos, but this concert featured everybody in the group. Original music, innovative arrangements, and rousing solos were passed around the stage throughout the evening. In short, everybody was a star.
And yet, the 15 musicians in the band easily played together like a singular unit. There is a special power in full horn sections going at it together and the JALCOWWM took full advantage of that. So did the audience that frequently cheered their efforts.
A week later, I returned to The Lincoln Center once again to check out Benise. This show was originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic. Finally, though, “The Prince of Spanish Guitar” brought his rapid-fire guitar work, live band, piped-in soundtracks, video backdrops, and troupe of dancers to the Lincoln Center stage for a lively and colorful presentation.
Does this indicate a return to normal? Wearing masks to a concert and getting checked for vax status isn’t the “normal” we think of after more than two years of the pandemic. Maybe you could call it “post-normal”. In any case, it’s great to hear some real live music again. Check out the full Lincoln Center schedule at www.lctix.com.
Tim Van Schmidt is a writer and photographer based in Fort Collins.