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Album Review

Here, Wynton Marsalis switches to cornet and tries to recreate the ambience of the proverbial village wind bands of long ago — albeit with the emphatically big-league help of Donald Hunsberger and the massive Eastman Wind Ensemble. This means a program of transcriptions of classical tunes, variations on popular ditties, dollops of sentimentality, heaping amounts of showoff display figurations, and other stuff that used to go over big in Middle America in the days before radio and electrical recording came in. From the hoary old hurdy-gurdy tune "The Carnival of Venice" that leads off the album onward, this is a record for dedicated antiquarians who dote on their Edison band cylinders because they like the music. But Marsalis works earnestly with the idea, playing those insidiously hummable tunes absolutely straight, with acres of flawless rapid-fire technical displays and even a touch of soulfulness on the token spiritual, "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." And Marsalis' pass through the nonstop minefield of Paganini's Moto Perpetuoz, using circular breathing to make the dumbfounded listener think that he doesn't have to take a breath, is a pretty astounding technical feat. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi


Born: 18 October 1961 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The most famous jazz musician since 1980, Wynton Marsalis had a major impact on jazz almost from the start. In the early '80s, it was major news that a young and very talented black musician would choose to make a living playing acoustic jazz rather than fusion, funk, or R&B. Marsalis' arrival on the scene started the "Young Lions" movement and resulted in major labels (most of whom had shown no interest in jazz during the previous decade) suddenly signing and promoting young players. There had been...
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