Wynton Marsalis’s New Choral/orchestral Work All Rise Celebrates The Blues As A Part Of American Life

A celebration of the Blues and its meaning in modern American life, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Wynton Marsalis’s large-scale choral/orchestral work All Rise receives its first recording on a new Sony Classical disc. Marsalis is also the featured soloist on the recording, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (LCJO), the Paul Smith Singers/The Northridge Singers of CSUN and the Morgan State University Choir. All Rise (SK 89817) will be released from Sony Classical on Tuesday, August 27, 2002.

“All Rise celebrates togetherness and ascendance, in the context of the Blues,” Marsalis says. “The Blues has elements of folk music from all over the world. The Blues is a system of harmony, a rhythm, a set of textures, a melodic attitude. The Blues is an attitude towards life, which celebrates transcendence through acceptance of what is.”

“This piece has elements of everything from the didgeridoo, ancient Greek music, fugue, the New Orleans funeral cadence, the fiddler’s reel, the clavé, the naningo, the American popular song, Eastern and Near-Eastern scales and plain old down-home ditties, but I don’t strive to combine many different styles in a ‘world-music’ type of mélange. I only try to hear that they are the same.”

The recording of All Rise was made in Los Angeles on September 14-15, 2001, following a critically acclaimed performance on September 13 at the Hollywood Bowl, in the tense days following the terrorist attacks on the United States. The Hollywood Bowl performance became a memorial to those who died in the attacks, and these events framed the piece in new and profound ways. Since the concert was one of the first major music performances after the attacks, portions of it were broadcast live on CNN. A portion of the proceeds from the concert went to the American Red Cross relief fund for victims of the attacks.

Marsalis describes All Rise as being structured in the form of the Blues – 12 movements for the 12 bars in a blues chorus. Each movement expresses “different attitudes about the uncontrollable rush of experiences in the quest for happiness.” The descriptive titles of the movements are “Jubal Step”; “A Hundred and a Hundred, a Hundred and Twelve”; “Go Slow (But Don’t Stop)”; “Wild Strumming of Fiddle”; “Save Us”; “Cried, Shouted, Then Sung”; “Look Beyond”; “The Halls of Erudition and Scholarship (Come Back Home)”; “El ‘Gran’ Baille de la Reina”; “Expressbrown Local”; “Saturday Night Slow Drag”; and “I Am (Don’t You Run From Me).”

Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic at the urging of its musical director Kurt Masur, in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, All Rise had its premiere with the orchestra in 1999. The Chicago Tribune’s review of the work said it addressed “the sweep of human musical expression.” All Rise has since been performed in edited form on tours by the LCJO, produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center, in Berlin and Prague. The Los Angeles performance and the recording represent the most complete version of the entire score.

One of the most acclaimed and respected figures in jazz today and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis made his mark as a composer in 1995 with his first major work, a string quartet entitled At the Octoroon Balls. Among the several compositions that followed was Blood on the Fields, a large-scale work that won Marsalis the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in Music – the first time that this accolade has gone to a jazz musician.

A Sony Classical artist for two decades and a nine-time Grammy Award laureate, Marsalis is extensively represented in the label’s catalogue as both composer and trumpeter. His most recent release Classic Wynton (SK 60804) is a collection of highlights from his finest classical recordings. As a composer, his latest Sony Classical release is Sweet Release and Ghost Story (SK 61690), which also features the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Wynton Marsalis’s All Rise will be be featured on, the composer/trumpeter’s official Web site, as well as on Sony Classical’s Web site at is an online resource for exploring the label’s entire catalogue of recordings, and includes sound clips, track listings, cover art and other information about the recordings. The site also features an online radio show, album supersites, multimedia, artist biographies, tour schedules and discographies for all Sony Classical artists, as well as special promotions, and much more.

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