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Wynton Marsalis

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Album Review

Sometimes even the powerful Wynton Marsalis has to take no for an answer, as his score for the film Rosewood was commissioned and completed but ultimately not used. In this case, it's clearly the filmmakers' loss, for Marsalis has written a soulful, stylistically wide-ranging set of cues that he put out anyway as part of his massive 1999 release schedule. The theme song for Rosewood is a cool, studied, country blues-flavored tune with Cassandra Wilson exploiting the husky tones of her bottom range. Along the way, Marsalis throws in some solo piano music; some bluegrass — a dignified folk ballad and reel for fiddler Mark O'Connor; some fine swing violin from the then-88-year-old marvel Claude Williams; music for gospel choir and Shirley Caesar; and handkerchief-waving New Orleans street music (the traditional "Sing On"). There are brief atmospheric cues for big band: the moody "Eyes Around the Corner" is an obvious homage to Miles Davis and Gil Evans; "Morning Song" — with Karen Briggs on violin — could almost be an Ellington outtake with Ray Nance. Marsalis' house players from Lincoln Center also receive sporadic room to ruminate, as does Marsalis' own eloquent horn ("After the Dead," a lonely solo surrounded by a halo of reverb, is especially moving). It's good to hear Marsalis stretching himself all over the spectrum of music of the American South, and always from the point of view of a staunch, respectful traditionalist. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Biography

Born: October 18, 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...
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