Wynton Marsalis Discussion Forum

   

“He and She”: reviews and opinions

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Feel free to discuss Wynton’s new album to be out on March 24, 2009.

You can already listen to a preview.

Following you can find the first press release:

 

WYNTON MARSALIS TO RELEASE “HE AND SHE” ON BLUE NOTE RECORDS, RELEASE DATE MARCH 24 

 

On March 24, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, trumpeter and bandleader Wynton Marsalis will release his fifth Blue Note recording, He and She. It’s an ambitious effort, combining spoken word and music, and Marsalis has given his quintet some formidable charts. The album is tempered with flashes of humor and plenty of swing. There’s ease and elegance and more than a little wisdom in these grooves.

 

He and She is about that eternally compelling and most elemental of subjects, the relationship between a man and a woman. Marsalis hasn’t merely crafted a love story, but a life story – a bittersweet rumination about the evanescence of life as well as the elusiveness of romance. Time is very much at the heart of He and She: the swift passage of time over the course of one’s life, the mood-altering shifts of time in the duration of a song.

 

He and She began with words, not music, though it was music that brought forth the words. Marsalis had been listening to Max Roach’s Jazz in ¾ Time, along with pieces by Duke Ellington, like “Lady Mac” from Such Sweet Thunder, work that explored waltz tempo in a jazz context. Roach’s classic album features “Valse Hot,” which, explains Marsalis is “a Sonny Rollins piece, a jazz waltz that I started to play when I was in high school.” That tune set off a spark: “I began to contemplate the shuffle rhythm, that the shuffle rhythm is the combination of a waltz feeling and a march feeling, and I thought it would be good for me to do an album of waltzes. I had written a couple before—one was for a ballet by Twyla Tharp, inspired by the Matisse painting, The Dance.  I was thinking about waltzes and how in Vienna today younger people still dance the waltz, a waltz season is still a part of their social calendar. From there, I began to consider the ritual of courtship. The waltz is a courtship dance and at one time it was considered to be risqué. Now, of course, it’s genteel. Then I started to think about men and women, our relationships.” 

 

Marsalis had ended his last Blue Note studio album, From the Plantation to the Penitentiary, with a stunning spoken word piece, a concentrated burst of righteous anger that addressed with preacher-like fervor the divisive, post-Katrina state of the nation. On He and She, Marsalis’s voice is more prominent throughout, prefacing just about every track with his words. Marsalis notes, “On He and She, it’s a man talking, but the person who delivers the universal truth of the matter is a woman.”   

 

Before heading into the studio, the Wynton Marsalis Quintet traveled to the Iron Horse, in North Hampton, Mass. to perform this new material in front of an audience. Marsalis has been going up to the club for years to test-drive his work. The quintet subsequently cut the tracks live over a two-day period. The minimally edited result became He and She. 

 

He and She draws its greatest power from telling a familiar story in such a compelling and richly entertaining manner, a unique variation on a theme that everyone, in some way, knows. One detects the sound of all our love stories in here. In other words, He and She is also Us.

     

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The “Times” reviewed “He & She” in this a.m.‘s paper so I assume it will be waiting for me/us at our local record stores starting tomorrow.  Ben Ratlif, the paper’s jazz reviewer, said the CD was ok, but not as good as some of Wynton’s other recent quintet sides.  He also slammed the spoken word segments.

     
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Ratliff can’t skat.

     
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Today’s the big day.  His big bro’ Branford beat him to the market by a week.  Branford’s new disc was released last week.  The only thing better than one new Marsalis CD is two new Marsalis CDs.

     
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I picked up HE AND SHE last night at Borders and gave a good chunk of the disc a listen this a.m. before heading off to work.  So far, so good.  That signature Marsalis sound.  Oh so good.  The spoken word segments weren’t as annoying as I thought they would be.  They are, fortunately, mercifully brief.

     
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1+1+1=1 Everything and Nothing.

     
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Ah come on, weren’t you into Blue Interlude, Hardbop?  Marsalis and his romance motifs, he is really onto something about the cycles though.  And Sassy is all over the radio up here.  Are Wynton and Walter playing something that a woman once spoke?  I am getting at that “closer to the human voice” aesthetic they talk about.  Hmmm…

     
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I gave it another spin this a.m. before heading off to work and it is sounding better and better as most jazz does each time you play it.  That quintet is smoking.  I hope Wynton tours with that quintet and takes a week at the Vanguard.  I’d love to hear this quintet in the Vanguard.  I like the Latin tune on the CD the best.  I wish it was all music and no talk, but what do I know.

     
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I saw Helen Sung tonight.  She is having poetry and jazz in her set, too.  Aha, a form is born.

     
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Not a new art form. The tone poem, (or symphonic poem), was popular in the nineteenth century.

Examples include Beethoven’s Egmont and third Leonore overtures; Concert overtures by Berlioz, Mendelssohn; Hugo’s “Ce qu’on entend sur la montagne” set by both Franck and Liszt; Smetana - ma Vlast; Richard Strauss - Don Quixote;

additional works by Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and nationalist composers.

 

As music in the twentieth century became more abstract and independent of extramusical ideas, the tone poem went into decline…Still there are stand-outs, George Gershwin - An American in Paris; Duke Ellington - Such Sweet Thunder, based on Shakespearian works.

     
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Hi Gloria!!  A revival then, they say nothing is “new”...

     
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Liszt generally gets credit for inventing this genre, though he was influenced by the concert overtures of Beethoven and prior works by Weber, Berlioz and Mendelssohn. Liszt provided prefaces of the poetry in the programs and the audience would read along silently. He often wrote the prefaces long after composing the music.

The tone poems of Liszt most influenced both the philosophy and artistry of Wagner, who integrated many art forms into his operas.

 

In this way, musical evolution probably ranks with revival. Or continued development. Ciao!

     
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The He and She album is absolutely fantastic! Mr. Marsalis’ harmonies are so extroardinary in that they color the music and keep it clear. His melodies are simple but profound. His solos are sooooo logical its not even funny! My favorite tracks are Razor Rim and Sassy. Schoolboy has a nice groove too. The album ventures through a plethora of styles but remains consistent to the feeling of jazz. 5/5!!

     
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School boy is SWINGIN!!! among many other tracks on the album!! 5 stars!!!

     
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Thanks for sharing. it’s great

 

 

taux pret auto

     
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He often wrote the prefaces long after composing the music.

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