Wynton Marsalis brings an aesthetic and nationalism lecture to Harvard on the subject of Jazz and social metaphors.
“Because it’s the national art.” For him, jazz is perfectly suited by its history and its structure to be morphed and metaphor-ized as an expression of the American identity. His words and his music convey this conviction, a conviction that is very much a part of his own identity. One need only listen to him for a few minutes to be completely won over by the passionate poeticism and swinging tones that infiltrate even his speaking. He is, as University President Drew Faust said when she was introducing him, “an infectious and energetic advocate for the arts.” And so it was on April 29. “Music as Metaphor,” first of six scheduled performance lectures to be given by Marsalis over the next two years, moved a packed Sanders Theatre by its end to a standing ovation—both for his skill as an orator and a musician as well as for the art form itself, renewed in its relevance in the minds of the audience. His message was as powerful as his delivery impeccable: “This music [jazz] cost us a lot.