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Classic Wynton

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Album Review

There are undoubtedly many jazz fans who've been curious about Wynton Marsalis' classical recordings. Recognizing Marsalis' canon would benefit from an introductory volume, Sony Classical compiled Classic Wynton, which includes a cross-section of his non-jazz recordings from 1984 to 1998. Fans won't be surprised by the artist's clear, pure tone on these pieces, composed by Purcell, Handel, J.S. Bach, Hovhaness, Rimsky-Korsakov, and J.B. Arban. (The last, "Variations on 'Le Carnaval de Venise'," is famous as one of teenage Wynton's favorite pieces from his practice book.) Unfortunately for novices, the liners neglect a list of his classical discography, and the 1998 date ensures that several of his famous 1999 performances won't be present. Still, dipping a toe in the water is quite easy with this volume.


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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