Sesame Street performs with Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra: NPR
It wasn’t your typical crowd at the Rose Theater one afternoon last fall, for a sold-out Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra concert with Wynton Marsalis. For one thing, each adult in the audience seemed to be accompanied by one or two excited kids. Then there were the guest artists, whom everyone knew by first name: Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita, Oscar, Abby. Bert and Ernie.
A Swingin ‘Sesame Street Celebration – the title of that frenzied gig, new album and special broadcast on PBS – was a Sesame Street 50th anniversary party, the beloved educational television series. It was also a joyful recognition of the role that music played in the series, with these familiar characters and their talented puppeteers rushing onto the stage, as they sang new custom arrangements of “Doin ‘the Pigeon” and “Elmo’s. Song “.
In this episode of Jazz evening in America, we will present the music of this show while exploring the undercurrent of jazz in Sesame Street ‘s the story, which dates back to its first musical director, the late Joe Raposo. We’ll hear from Chris Cerf, the songwriter of Raposo, and Hoots the Owl (hum, it would be Chris Thomas Hayes,) who sings the song of Cerf “Put Down the Duckie”. Marsalis will also share his thoughts on Big Bird and Elmo.
But it does not stop there. Much-requested trombonist Joe Fiedler, Associate Music Director of Sesame Street, started a band a few years ago called Open Sesame, with peers like Steven Bernstein on trumpet and Jeff Lederer on saxophone. As the name suggests, the group takes a freewheeling approach to the songs on the show – as we’ll hear in a recording by the Jazz Gallery in New York City. Like the rest of this show, it carries a basic truth: “You could be serious and have an impeccable musical skill set,” as Fiedler aptly puts it, “and let it still be fun.”
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: Wynton Marsalis, Music Director, Trumpet; Ryan Kisor, trumpet; Kenny Rampton, trumpet; Marcus Printup, trumpet; Vincent Gardner, trombone; Chris Crenshaw, trombone; Elliot Mason, trombone; Sherman Irby, alto saxophone; Ted Nash, alto saxophone; Victor Goines, tenor saxophone; Janelle Reichman, tenor saxophone; Paul Nedzela, baritone saxophone; Dan Nimmer, piano; Carlos Henriquez, bass; Jason Marsalis, drums.
Sesame Workshop: Ken Diego, director; Andrew Moriarty, writer; Paul Rudolph, musical director, vocals; Matt Vogel: Puppet Captain, Big Bird, Count von Count, M. Johnson; Eric Jacobson: Bert, Grover, Oscar Le Grouch; Peter Linz: Ernie, Herry Monster; Carmen Osbahr-Vertiz: Rosita; Leslie Carrara-Rudolph: Abby Cadabby; Ryan Dillon: Elmo; Christopher Thomas Hayes: Hoot the owl.
Joe Fiedler’s Open Sesame: Joe Fiedler, trombone; Jeff Lederer, tenor saxophone; Steve Bernstein, trumpet; Sean Conly, bass; Michael Sarin, drums.
Define the list
- “Sesame Street Theme” (Joe Raposo, Bruce Hart & Jon Stone, arr. Kenny Rampton)
- “Pinball number” (Walt Kramer & Ed Bogas, arr. Carlos Henriquez)
- “Mahna Mahna” (Piero Umiliani, arr. Wynton Marsalis)
- “Put Down The Duckie” (Christopher Cerf & Norman Stiles, arr. Carlos Henriquez)
- “I don’t want to live on the moon” (Jeff Moss, arr. Wynton Marsalis)
- “Has anyone seen my dog” (Joe Raposo)
- “Doin The Pigeon” (Joe Raposo)
- “The Sesame Street Theme”
- “The Elmo / Wynton Song” (Tony Geiss, arr. Kenny Rampton)
- “Sing” (Joe Raposo, arr. Ted Nash)
The full performance starring Wynton Marsalis and the Sesame Street Muppets will begin October 30 at 9:00 p.m. EDT on PBS stations nationwide. Check your local listings for details.
Special thanks to Shaniqua Martin, Aaron Bisman, Brit Edwards, Samantha Kennedy at Sesame Workshop and Kathleen Dunn at Penguin Random House.
Writer and Producer: Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Host: Christian McBride; Project manager: Suraya Mohamed; Musical engineers: Rob Macomber and James Nichols (JALC), Edward Gavitt (Jazz Gallery); Technical Director: David Tallacksen; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann and Gabrielle Armand; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey.