The Magic Hourby Wynton Marsalis
You might expect that Wynton Marsalis would try to make a big splash with The Magic Hour, his debut release for Blue Note after two productive decades with Sony-Columbia. Instead, he pares down, offering a summational album, his most relaxed and unforced in years. To be specific, Marsalis recruits a quartet from the Jazz at Lincoln Center family to play his eight compositions, all seemingly of recent vintage, exploring, recontextualizing, and consolidating themes he’s worked through over the last 15 years with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the Wynton Marsalis Septet. Prominent in the mix is pianist Eric Lewis, who mirrors Marsalis’ comfort zone in mixing and matching the tropes of jazz, blues, and classical music -- his historically literate approach seems deeply influenced by Marcus Roberts, Marsalis’ piano muse at the cusp of the ‘90s.Things to look for: the musical dialogue between Marsalis and Diane Reeves on “Feeling of Jazz,” an Ellington-style blues; Marsalis' melodic variations over a spare beat on “You and Me,” a magnolia-and-honey ballad; a fiery Marsalis solo followed by an abstract Lewis turn on “Free to Be,” a reimagined “Impressions”/”So What” form; “Big Fat Hen,” an attractive Marsalis blues over a second-line beat; the deceptively complex “Skipping,” fueled by drummer Ali Jackson, and featuring a rhythmically complex Marsalis statement and an abstract-to-fundamental Lewis solo; Marsalis’ sweet, muted tone on “Sophie-Rose Rosalie,” a tender waltz; the kaleidoscopic juxtaposition of outer-partials avant-garde vocabulary, fundamental blues values, and a Latin tinge on the multi-thematic title track. The entire proceedings have an organic quality -- Marsalis, now 43, offers heady hints of his own shape of things to come.
- Release Date:
- Blue Note Records
Performance CreditsWynton Marsalis Primary Artist,Trumpet
Bobby McFerrin Vocals
Dianne Reeves Vocals
Eric Lewis Piano
Carlos Henríquez Bass
Ali Muhammed Jackson Drums
Technical CreditsBobby McFerrin Composer
Stanley Crouch Liner Notes
Wynton Marsalis Composer
Delfeayo Marsalis Producer
Patrick Smith Engineer
Burton Yount Art Direction
Rachel Salomon Art Direction,Illustrations
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This represents music at it's best: a combination of wondrous compositions and fantastic performance. The spand of Marsalis' genius is here for all to enjoy.
When Marsalis and the band show off their stuff on the title track it brings to a close a disc of musical genius. This is modern jazz at its best.