Christopher Crenshaw’s Musical Journey

Christopher Crenshaw’s musical journey has taken him from playing keyboard in his father’s traveling gospel quartet to working side-by-side with a living legend.

Now Crenshaw, a Thomson native, has finished up work as composer on the acclaimed new album, “The Fifties: A Prism by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.” It is a tribute to the varying styles and movements of jazz from the 1950s and was recorded during a live performance at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall three years ago.

Long a mainstay at trombone in one of the most celebrated jazz orchestras in the world, Crenshaw also is an accomplished composer. He has transcribed music and written arrangements for two Tony Award nominated musicals, “After Midnight” and “Shuffle Along.”

The diversity of jazz in the 1950s, including emerging forms of expression that would fuel the growth of various genres in the following decades, inspired the sounds of “The Fifties.”

“When I was presented with the idea of coming up with a suite dealing with the 1950s, I immediately realized this was going to cover all the genres of jazz, from bebop to freedom music,” said Crenshaw.

Crenshaw first discovered his love of music at three years old when he started playing piano. By 11, he found his musical calling when he picked up the trombone. After studying at famed The Juilliard School, he joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2006, and the rest is history.

Released by Blue Engine Records, “The Fifties” is available on digital platforms at jazz.org/thefifties.

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