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Album Review

Once again planting himself in London's St. Giles Church, Wynton Marsalis performs a program of heroic pan-European Baroque music that permits him to blow his horn above the orchestra like the proverbial archangel Gabriel. There are fanfares, small-scale sonatas, dances, and famous tidbits, and ultimately J.S. Bach's wonderful "Brandenburg Concerto No. 2," with its notorious high-flying tessitura for piccolo trumpet that Marsalis nails every time with relish. The non-classical listener will recognize some of this stuff, like Jean-Joseph Mouret's "Rondeau" (latterly known as the theme for PBS' Masterpiece Theatre), Jeremiah Clarke's "The Prince of Denmark March" (once wrongly attributed to Purcell), and a genuine Purcell "Rondeau" from "Abdelazar" that Benjamin Britten used so famously well in his Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Torelli figures heavily in this program, with five of his sonatas placed in between the other numbers. Anthony Newman takes over leadership of the English Chamber Orchestra this time, with phrasings that are often more in a clipped period-performance-practice-influenced style than those that Raymond Leppard used to produce on Marsalis' classical recordings. In part because of this, the program seems to zip along at a swift pace, one tiny number dispatched after another, and perhaps would make a greater effect if taken in small doses. In any case, this would be Marsalis' last recording of classical repertoire for awhile; his next several Sony Classical releases would contain his own music. ~ 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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