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  • Wynton Marsalis Gets Kind Of Blue

    Posted on August 25th, 1991 in Review

    There’s a recurring song on Wynton Marsalis’s formidable new trilogy, “Soul Gestures in Southern Blue,” called “So This Is Jazz, Huh?” It is both a challenge and a history lesson. Yeah, the song argues, this is jazz: a system of African-American mythmaking guided by the blues, with a rhythmic chain stretching back to pre-Civil War New Orleans and beyond. This is the seed for a grand musical discourse and an opening for unchecked pedantry. Over the almost three hours of “Soul Gestures in Southern Blue,” Marsalis gives both inclinations free play, to remarkable effect. As composer, arranger, musician and jazz ideologue, he has never been more impressive.   Keep reading »

  • Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, 29, has already released 14 albums and shown steady growth

    Posted on April 9th, 1991 in Profiles & Interviews

    SAN DIEGO — Six months shy of his 30th birthday, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has already ensured that he won’t ever be labeled an underachiever. During a recording career not quite 10 years old, he has released 14 albums as a leader—and that doesn’t count his classical or Christmas releases.   Keep reading »

  • Horns of Plenty

    Posted on October 22nd, 1990 in Profiles & Interviews

    Miles Davis is onstage, but the young man in the dark blue Versace jacket couldn’t care less. He is concentrating on the one thing other than a trumpet mouthpiece that is capable of riveting his attention to the point of near obsession: a basketball hoop. For some reason, there is a basket in the open backstage area of New York’s Jones Beach Theater, and Wynton Marsalis is pumping balls into the net from every angle. Suddenly, he dribbles out 30 ft. from the goal and announces, “I bet $100 I can sink one from here.” A stagehand snaps up the wager. Marsalis flexes his knees, rises up on his toes and sends the ball arcing through the misty night sky. Swish! Amid scattered applause and shouts of “Aw right!” from fellow musicians, a voice calls out, “Wynton, you are one competitive dude!” The young man grins. “No, I’m not competitive,” he says in his soft-spoken New Orleans accent. “I just like to play.”   Keep reading »

  • Wynton: Prophet in standard time - Downbeat (September 1990)

    Posted on September 10th, 1990 in Profiles & Interviews

    A rainy afternoon in Arlington Heights, IL. – just a mile up the street from the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame – the photographer and his assistant convert one corner of Wynton’s hotel suite into a studio while he fiddles with his trumpet. Somebody tripped over it a couple days before and one valve sticks. “Do you have a name for your trumpet?” the photographer asks. “Johnson” Wynton replies, chuckles, and adds, “No, not really.”   Keep reading »

  • Review/Jazz; The New Orleans in Wynton Marsalis

    Posted on March 30th, 1989 in Review

    His first note of the evening was a plunger-muted growl, and throughout the concert’s two sets he used the smears and rasps of early jazz along with the pure-toned, agile melodic style he is known for. Mr. Marsalis, a scholar of jazz-trumpet styles, has clearly been reinvestigating the work of Bubber Miley, who growled bluesy solos for the Duke Ellington Orchestra in the 1920’s.   Keep reading »

  • Pop Classics for Horn

    Posted on August 11th, 1988 in Review

    Jazz musicians rarely get credit for keeping Tin Pan Alley standards current through the rock era. Yet they continue to honor that repertory, both by reclaiming pop melodies with eloquent phrasing and by evading them to reveal ingenious harmonic structures.   Keep reading »

  • MUSIC; What Jazz Is - and Isn’t

    Posted on July 31st, 1988 in Profiles & Interviews

    My generation finds itself wedged between two opposing traditions. One is the tradition we know in such wonderful detail from the enormous recorded legacy that tells anyone who will listen that jazz broke the rules of European conventions and created rules of its own that were so specific, so thorough and so demanding that a great art resulted. This art has had such universal appeal and application to the expression of modern life that it has changed the conventions of American music as well as those of the world at large.   Keep reading »