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The Spiritual Side of Wynton Marsalis

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Album Review

As a New Orleans native, trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis has long incorporated a wide array of spiritual music into his own straight-ahead jazz. Even his earliest recordings, such as Black Codes (From the Underground) and The Majesty of the Blues, evinced the influence of gospel music, religious hymns, and New Orleans funeral processionals. Though raised in the Catholic church, Marsalis' professed take on religion has always been a holistic invocation of God, a sense of spirituality that connects all human beings — at least as far as his music and liner notes have revealed. Inspired by the social activism of Martin Luther King, Jr., and directly influenced by the spiritually and socially conscious jazz of John Coltrane (A Love Supreme) and Duke Ellington (Sacred Concerts), Marsalis began writing his own explicitly spiritual-themed compositions beginning with 1994's In This House, On This Morning. The 2013 compilation The Spiritual Side of Wynton Marsalis brings together tracks off that album, as well as other divinely themed tracks Marsalis recorded during the '90s and 2000s. Formatted to evoke the rhythms and flow of a New Orleans funeral function, the compilation works as a soulful overview of this vital side of Marsalis' career. Included here are both small and large ensemble recordings from such albums as 1997's Pulitzer Prize-winning Blood on the Fields, 1999's Reeltime, 2002's All Rise, and more.

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...
Full Bio