The exhilaration of sitting in a club or concert hall hearing jazz made is a familiar excitement for most fans. But what if you could go deeper into the music — be there in the dark of night when a new composition is born, or on the tour bus when the band breaks into an impromptu chorus, or backstage when the audience demands an encore? What if you could immerse yourself in the world of the jazz musician, where creating and performing the music is a profound task, and yet as routine as breathing?
When writer Carl Vigeland was invited to tour with Wynton Marsalis and his septet, on what would become the last extended journey the acclaimed band took together, he did just that. Vigeland's acute observations take us with him into their world as he becomes virtually part of the band, witnessing their relationships with their audiences, their art, and each other. At the same time, Marsalis takes us into the heart of jazz itself, with intimate meditations on home, family, creation, and performance — written in the cadence of his inimitable voice. Set on the stage, in the studio and in great cities and small towns around the world, this richly textured narrative mirrors the very forms of jazz, while exploring where the music comes from and how it is made in America today.
"On the road and on the bandstand," Marsalis writes, "something great may happen at any moment, something that might even change your life." Alternately tender and boisterous, elegant and raw, Marsalis and Vigeland's extraordinary duet is a singular accomplishment and an indelible portrait of a life in art.