Wynton Picks Five Albums for New Listeners
Out of his own discography, Wynton has selected five albums for those who are just learning about his music.
Big Band: “Big Train”
JAZZ musicians all used to tour by train, and if Wynton had his way — here’s a little secret, he hates flying — they still would. With Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and the late 20th century’s big Trane — John Coltrane, that is — as spiritual engineers and conductors, Wynton and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra invite you to join their gang of rail riders on a journey that crisscrosses the landscape of America transported by its greatest art form, jazz.
Septet: “The Marciac Suite”
A sonic photo album in 13 movements, all 12 keys, and four time signatures, this 76 minute suite is Wynton’s kaleidoscopic tribute to the beautiful medieval town of Marciac, France, and its August jazz festival in which he participates every year. Written for his septet, the suite captures the varied, bracing flavors of Marciac’s paté (including the duck that got away), its armagnac, its striking sunflower fields and, most of all, the hospitality and soulfulness of its people.
Quartet: “The Magic Hour”
Those final minutes of the day, when parents everywhere are trying to get restless kids to settle down and go to bed, are what Wynton Marsalis calls “the magic hour.” Wynton says: “When they know they’re getting ready to go to bed, it’s like they go crazy. Then you have to put the blues on them to calm them down. Then when you calm them down, you can get into a groove… Then you read them the little bedtime story. Everything calms down and then they go ahead and go to sleep. That’s why it’s magic.”
Major Work: “All Rise”
ALL RISE is an extraordinary, massive work on the scale of Marsalis’ 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio BLOOD ON THE FIELDS. Performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and a 100-voice choir, ALL RISE reaches across styles and genres, from jazz and blues to classical and world music.
Classical: “In Gabriel’s Garden”
The sumptuous acoustic environment of St. Giles Cripplegate in London, a baroque church where John Milton, the author of PARADISE LOST, was once the organist, was the recording studio for this wide-ranging tour of baroque music by French, English, Italian, and German composers, including Henry Purcell, Giuseppe Torelli, and J.S. Bach. The sessions were so exhilarating, conductor Anthony Newman reports, that the soloists and orchestra “stayed up well into the night discussing the day’s work.” One listen, and you’ll understand why they were too excited to fall asleep.