Of Taveras, Marsalis, Buddy and Jazz

Jan 28, 2013

Being Providence mayor is a tough job, but it isn’t all about filling potholes and budget deficits and cajoling municipal union leaders. On Sunday, Mayor Angel Taveras showed up at Veterans Memorial Auditorium to greet jazz great Wynton Marsalis.

Before introducing Marsalis, Taveras told the packed house that being mayor ``comes with certain privileges.’’

That phrase drew a ripple of  knowing Rhode Islandesque laughter. Taveras quickly deadpanned, ``I’m not Buddy.’’

At that point the volume on the laughter and applause ramped up to a crowd-wide crescendo, cascading through the hall from the nosebleed seats to the front row.

Then the mayor presented the key to the city to Marsalis, telling the jazz impresario that the symbolic key would gain him entrance to just about any place in the city. Not to be outdone, Marsalis cracked, ``If somebody tries to get into your house tonight, don’t shoot him.’’

The concert was remarkable. Jazz at Lincoln Center is dedicated to growing and inspiring audiences for jazz. The orchestra’s interpretation and re-interpretations of traditional artists, including Ellington and Basie, along with original material was truly a treat for a Providence audience.