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Arts and Entertainment

Jazz giant Wynton Marsalis returns to Charlotte for a pair of concerts
May 20 shows at Victoria Yards
Published Wednesday, April 21, 2021 6:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Wynton Marsalis will play a pair of shows May 20 in Charlotte with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet.

Wynton Marsalis returns to Charlotte next month.

The acclaimed jazz musician, composer, bandleader and educator will head to the Queen City with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet on May 20 for two outdoor performances at Victoria Yards in Uptown. Expect to hear rare historic compositions, Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works and arrangements by greats like Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Count Bessie.

Performances are scheduled for 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Masks will be required at all times, unless actively eating or drinking. Blumenthal Performing Arts will base capacity for the event on current North Carolina guidelines.

Tickets are $99.50, for a dinner and a show spin and includes a $25 gift card to a restaurant of your choice. Featured eateries are Cicchetti, Forchetta, Aria Tuscan Grill and Chima Steakhouse, and restaurant selection occurs during the ticket buying process.

Marsalis, managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, is no stranger to Charlotte. He regularly performed during Blumenthal’s annual Charlotte Jazz Festival, which like many other events, was a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be Marsalis’ first performance in Charlotte in two years.

“We always look forward to having Wynton and Jazz at Lincoln Center here,” Blumenthal CEO Tom Gabbard said. “They have missed being out on the road as much as we have missed hearing them play.”

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet reached out to organizations like Blumenthal and said they would be willing to travel to perform for small groups in an outdoor setting.  
“They have had cabin fever just like we have,” Gabbard said, laughing. “They have been playing for smaller groups, outdoors in various parts of the country. We are thrilled that the circumstance came together for us to be able to do it.”

Victoria Yards is a space that Blumenthal uses in collaboration with Charlotte Center City Partners and provides more space than the Square, Spirit Square’s public plaza a few blocks away. Blumenthal has activated Victoria Yards during the pandemic to provide fitness classes and other activities to connect people during a time of physical distancing.

“Victoria Yards is a cool space that we have used periodically, but seemed like a really good fit for the small group that he wanted to have here,” Gabbard said.
Blumenthal and Charlotte Center City Partners also collaborated on the closure of Levine Avenue of the Arts, formally known as West First Street. They intend to provide outdoor concerts there as well.

“It ends up giving us an opportunity to create activity at both ends of Tryon Street — both North Tryon and South Tryon,” Gabbard said. “We think it can really play a role in helping our restaurants get activated again.”

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