Magic Hour

The Magic Hour

5.0 2
by 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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
It is a record of pared-down themes, rhythmic play, and open space; it almost floats with a sense of casual, mischievous intelligence. The album isn't just a pleasant relief from grandiosity, but a strong statement on its own.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/09/2004
Label:
Blue Note Records
UPC:
0724359171722
catalogNumber:
91717

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The Magic Hour 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.