Jazz TodayIn the 70s traditional acoustic jazz popularity began to fall, as the popularity of rock and funk grew. Manytraditional jazz artists had a hard time keeping their careers unless they worked in fusion style. Many traditional jazz musicians found work touring and recording with Motown groups and other pop music acts of the day, or in TV and film music. Some moved to Europe to preserve their performance career, as traditional jazz was still popular there.Some traditional jazz groups made a living touring and performing on college campuses, finding an enthusiastic audience in college and high school musicians. Many were big bands, such as the Buddy Rich Band, the Woody Herman Band, the Maynard Ferguson Band, and the Stan Kenton Band, all popularnames from the 50s big band scene that led groups of young musicians touring the country by bus playing “one nighters” for the most part. Others from earlier jazz eras also played traditional jazz around the country. Sonny Rollins could be heard on occaision and is still touring, Horace Silver had a group of young musicians and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers maintained a constant touring and recording schedule. Many of the next generation of jazz artists came through these groups. Especially Art Blakey’s group, a tradition dating back to the beginning of the Messengers.In the early 80s Blakey’s Jazz Messengers featured young trumpet player Wynton Marsalis, an excellent trumpeter with jazz and classical background, a fact important to the publicity and notoriety he would attain. Wynton, and saxophonist Branford Marsalis are sons of pianist Ellis Marsalis, a well known jazz artist and mainstay in the New Orleans jazz scene. Growing up in a household of music, where many jazz greats visited when playing in New Orleans, they learned jazz traditions first hand, and dedicated themselves to music. Wynton gained notoriety for himself as a talented young classical trumpeter, playing solos with well known orchestras and chamber groups. He was also well known as a jazz trumpeter. By performing as a classical trumpet soloist and a jazz artist on the highest levels, he was ableto bring those 2 audiences together, gaining publicity for the “lost” art form of jazz music in the mainstream press. Wynton was very vocal about maintaining the great traditions established by the jazz greats of the past, and became a visible spokesman for the music.Today Wynton and Branford Marsalis have established themselves as leaders in music and are 2 great jazz artists of their generation. Wynton made his mark as a spokesman and advocate of jazz music, the great American art form, while maintaining his musical abilities. He is Musical Director of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the driving force behind the construction of the Lincoln Center for Jazz, a complex of performance halls and educational spaces in New York.