Blue Engine Records Announces Star-Studded Album
UNITED WE SWING: BEST OF THE JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER GALAS
Features Wynton Marsalis in once-in-a-lifetime collaborations with the Blind Boys of Alabama, Jimmy Buffett, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Lenny Kravitz, John Legend, Lyle Lovett, John Mayer, Audra McDonald, Natalie Merchant, Willie Nelson, Carrie Smith, James Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks
In a Time of National Division, This Album Celebrates the Red, White and Blues and Highlights Jazz as an Art Form That Can Unify Our Country – No Matter Your Background
Available March 23, 2018
Blue Engine Records makes the most memorable performances from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s historic gala concerts available for the first time with the release of United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas.The album—which features some of the 20th century’s biggest musical stars, including Blind Boys of Alabama, Jimmy Buffett, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Lenny Kravitz, John Legend, Lyle Lovett, John Mayer, Audra McDonald, Natalie Merchant, Willie Nelson, Carrie Smith,
James Taylor, and Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks— will be available on vinyl, CD, and all download and streaming platforms on March 23, 2018. United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas is available for pre-order now on store.jazz.org and Amazon.com.
Recorded between 2003 and 2007, United We Swing finds an unparalleled array of music talent that collectively boasts 94 Grammy Awards joining Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis (a nine-time Grammy Award winner himself) and some of the world’s top jazz musicians to perform blues-inflected versions of iconic American repertoire. Their backgrounds and musical stylings are diverse, but together these artists raise their voices to highlight jazz’s importance to America’s cultural heritage and to remind us that, even in divided times, music can unite us all.
“On this recording and in these concerts, we came together to affirm common roots, to celebrate the diversity of our creativity, and to pass the reality of our best achievements on to our kids,” said Marsalis. “We were, and are, United in Swing.”
Those one-night-only, live performances have never been released before. They include Lenny Kravitz performing Wynton Marsalis’s hypnotizing, New Orleans-inflected arrangement of Kravitz’ own song, “Are You Gonna Go My Way”; Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks uniting for a stirring, infectious take on Civil Rights anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”; Bob Dylan adding harmonica licks to a deeply felt, in-the-pocket rendition of “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”; and Ray Charles taking the stage for one of his final performances to play “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town.”
Marsalis and his group go head-to-head with some of music’s most legendary figures, like Willie Nelson and Carrie Smith, as well as modern standard-bearers like John Mayer and John Legend. Performances such as Natalie Merchant’s slow-burning “The Worst Thing” and Lyle Lovett’s jaunty “My Baby Don’t Tolerate” reveal how jazz and the blues unite all musicians regardless of their genre, age, or birthplace.
The concerts from which these performances are culled were produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center. These galas have become an annual tradition, and are the organization’s annual signature fundraiser for its education programs. In keeping with those concerts, United We Swing is dedicated to a great cause: 100% of the album’s proceeds will go toward introducing thousands of children from around the world to jazz, American’s greatest homegrown art form.
Along with revealing music’s power to unite us, no matter where we call home, these once-in-a-lifetime recordings offer an exhilarating snapshot of the creative process: the performances were only briefly rehearsed before being performed and captured in front of a live audience in the heart of New York City.
About Blue Engine Records
Blue Engine Records, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s platform that makes its vast archive of recorded concerts available to jazz audiences everywhere, launched on June 30, 2015. Blue Engine Records releases new studio and live recordings as well as archival recordings from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s performance history that date back to 1987 and are part of the R. Theodore Ammon Archives and Music Library. Since the institution’s founding in 1987, each year’s programming is conceived and developed by Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis with a vision toward building a comprehensive library of iconic and wide-ranging compositions that, taken together, make up a canon of music. These archives include accurate, complete charts for the compositions – both old and new – performed each season. Coupled with consistently well-executed and recorded music performed by Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, this archive has grown to include thousands of songs from hundreds of concert dates. The launch of Blue Engine is aligned with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s efforts to cultivate existing jazz fans worldwide and turn new audiences onto jazz. Blue Engine’s award-winning, best-selling records include Live in Cuba, which captures the historic trip taken by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis to Havana in 2010, and Handful of Keys, which pairs the JLCO with special guest pianists for a one-night romp through 100 years of jazz piano history.
For more information on Blue Engine Records, visit blueenginerecords.org.
Blue Engine Records