David Smith was talking about a process.
“When you seek a headliner, when you seek a name, you want to seek a name that’s got some ‘household’ value,” said Smith, co-chairman of the Elkhart Jazz Festival. “... You want to seek a name that’s going to pique everyone’s ears.”
So the organizers of the 2013 Jazz Festival sought — and found.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis is the marquee act at this year’s festival. The ensemble will perform Saturday at 8 p.m. in The Lerner Theatre.
Part of the musically renowned Marsalis family, Wynton Marsalis was born in 1961 in New Orleans. He joined the Jazz Messengers in 1980 to study under drummer and bandleader Art Blakey. The following year, he put together his own band and commenced touring.
Marsalis also conducted workshops. A short list of his pupils includes James Carter, Roy Hargrove and Harry Connick Jr.
The awards Marsalis has garnered in his career attest to his skill as a genre-crosser. In 1983, he became the only musician ever to score Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical releases. He repeated that feat the following year. Marsalis has earned nine Grammys in total, and is the sole musician ever to win Grammys in five straight years (1983 to 1987).
Marsalis also broke new ground in 1997, when he was the first jazz artist to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for music. This honor was for his oratorio “Blood on the Fields.”
In addition, the musician is an author. Marsalis has written five books, including “To a Young Musician: Letters from the Road” and “Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life.”
Marsalis co-founded and became artistic director for Jazz at Lincoln Center and music director for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 1987.
The information for this article was largely taken from the website wyntonmarsalis.org.