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February 28, 2000

Marsalis and band swing into town this April

By Barbara McKenna

"The rituals of courtship may change, but at the center of romance is always the desire of a man and a woman to say 'I do' with style."

The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
Dancers enjoying the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
Photo (top): Carol Friedman
Photo (bottom): WNET/Storyville
So says Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (LCJO), which will be in Santa Cruz April 12 as part of Arts & Lectures 1999-2000 season.

In Marsalis's mind, dance is one of the world's best expressions of romance. "There is nothing more stylish than the sensuous movements of bodies on a dance floor and no sound more soulful than the joyous motion of swing with the bittersweet cry of the blues," he says.

Which explains why the orchestra, of which Marsalis is artistic director, is touring a show this spring entitled "For Dancers Only." The show takes its name from a 1937 classic written by Sy Oliver and celebrates one of jazz's most exuberant and engaging offshoots--swing.

Swing has regained its rightful place as a popular dance form in recent years, drawing dancers out of the woodwork with its playful, lively rhythms and catchy melodies. In the hands of one of the country's premiere jazz ensembles, an evening of swing will be an evening to remember. "For Dancers Only" will feature many classic swing pieces, written by such composers as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman, as well as many new dance works commissioned by bandleader/saxophonist Andy Farber, LCJO trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and others.

Even those with two-left-feet syndrome can enjoy the exceptional musical performances of Marsalis and his world-class ensemble. The show will be performed in the magical setting of the Cocoanut Grove Ballroom, with a range of seating choices and a preconcert buffet dinner.

Last year, the LCJO took Santa Cruz by storm in a sold-out concert of works by Duke Ellington. This year's performance may disprove the adage that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Buy tickets early, if you want to find out firsthand. For tickets and more information, call ext. 9-2159 or visit http://events.ucsc.edu/artslecs/

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