It was long. It was rambling. And, especially when a photographer jockeying for position blocked Wynton Marsalis’s view of the teleprompter, making him stop midsentence, it had awkward moments.
The National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Awards ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room earlier this month, hosted by Marsalis and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, nevertheless reinforced some qualities that seem essential to jazz mastery, especially a searching spirit and a need for self-expression. Here‘s my story.