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Jazz legend holds virtual assembly for thousands of South Coast students

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KCLU
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Wynton Marsalis held a virtual assembly on Friday morning in Santa Barbara for local students

What does jazz mean to you? That’s what nearly 2,500 school students in Santa Barbara County were asked Friday by one of the biggest jazz stars in the U.S.

The Lincoln Center Orchestra with jazz legend and multi Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis took to the stage at The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara on Friday morning.

But most of the audience was watching online.

The virtual assembly was streamed to 2,434 K-12 students in Santa Barbara County — to get them thinking about what jazz means to them.

"It's American music and it represents our democratic way of governing," he explained to the audience.

"Jazz is important because it can better help us understand how our way of life is put together," he said.

History of Jazz Professor at UCSB Jeffrey Stewart says jazz is more relevant than ever.

"There's nobody like Wynton Marsalis in America today. Not only is he the premiere trumpet player, but he has been the person who revitalized what's sometimes called Classical Jazz," he told KCLU.

"He really been a curator of jazz as well as a historian. He's expanded it into a discussion about democracy," he said.

Some of his students attended in person and are thrilled to have a personal concert from a jazz legend - who is the only musician to win a Grammy award in jazz and classical in the same year.

There’s a public performance on Friday, February 4 at 8 p.m. as part of the UCSB Arts and Lectures Series.