Rock Chalk Suite—Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

New York, NY – Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Pierce, Lynette Woodard and Jo Jo White are among the University of Kansas basketball legends honored on Blue Engine Records’s “Rock Chalk Suite” by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Commissioned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Lied Center of Kansas—the University of Kansas’s (KU) performing arts center—each of the suite’s high-flying 15 movements takes inspiration from a different KU hoops legend. The CD for “Rock Chalk Suite” can now be ordered exclusively from the Lied Center of Kansas at The full digital album will be available on March 20, 2020 at

It’s been said that basketball is like jazz, but “Rock Chalk Suite” takes the comparison to another level entirely—utilizing the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s full roster to honor KU’s rich athletic heritage, as well as its cultural contributions to the world. As Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis says, both basketball and jazz “reward improvisation and split-second decision making against the pressure of time.”

Derek Kwan, the Lied Center’s Executive Director, says, “As we prepared to celebrate the Lied Center’s 25th anniversary throughout the 2018–2019 season, our goal was to commission a new work that would create an indelible sense of community. There is no question that this project, built upon the foundation of great jazz music, has created a stronger sense of community in Kansas, in New York City, and for all of Jayhawk nation.”

“Rock Chalk Suite”—named for KU’s “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” cheer, which dates back to 1886—is a timeless tribute to the spirit of improvisation, both on and off the hardwood.


  1. The Y’s Guy (for James Naismith)
  2. Jo Jo’s Mojo (for Jo Jo White)
  3. Phog Allen (for Phog Allen)
  4. The First Lady: Lyrical Lynette (for Lynette Woodard)
  5. C. B.’s Theme (for Charlie B. Black)
  6. D(efense)-Up: The Untold Story of Darnell Valentine (for Darnell Valentine)
  7. The Truth (for Paul Pierce)
  8. Walt’s Waltz (for Walt Wesley)
  9. Miracles (for Danny Manning)
  10. Third Quarter (for Nick Collison)
  11. Passing Game (for Bill Hougland)
  12. I Cry Before My Country, I Leap Across Its Seas (for Wilt Chamberlain)
  13. Wiggins in 6/8 (for Andrew Wiggins)
  14. The Ponderous Pachyderm of the Planks (for Clyde Lovellette)
  15. The Shot (for Mario Chalmers) / I’m a Jayhawk (The KU Fight Song)

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis—Rock Chalk Suite introduction by Brian Hanni

Out now: ROCK CHALK SUITE by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis


2018–19 Concert Season


  • Sherman Irby — alto and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet
  • Ted Nash — alto and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet, piccolo
  • Victor Goines — tenor and soprano saxophones, Bb and bass clarinets, tambourine
  • †Walter Blanding — tenor saxophone
  • *Camille Thurman — tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet
  • Paul Nedzela — baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet


  • *Ryan Kisor
  • Kenny Rampton
  • Marcus Printup
  • Wynton Marsalis


  • Vincent Gardner
  • Chris Crenshaw (additional vocals, track 7)
  • Elliot Mason (tracks 1-8, 10-14)
  • *Sam Chess (tracks 9 and 15)


  • Dan Nimmer — piano
  • Carlos Henriquez — bass
  • *Charles Goold — drums
  • *Taurien “TJ” Reddick – percussion

*Indicates substitute orchestra members

†Did not perform on this recording

Program notes from the world premiere performance on October 11, 2018 at the Lied Center of Kansas.

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