Wynton Marsalis, very much in his Miles Davis period, plays quite melodically throughout this ballad-dominated outing with strings. Branford Marsalis (on tenor and soprano), flutist Kent Jordan, pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Jeff Watts are strong assets but it is Wynton's subtle creativity on such songs as "Stardust," "When You Wish Upon a Star," Duke Ellington's "Melancholia," and "I'm Confessin'" that makes this recording special. The arrangements by Robert Freedman generally keep the strings from sounding too sticky and Wynton's tone is consistently beautiful.
Wynton Marsalis approaches the art of jazz, both as a performer and teacher, in the tradition of the great musicians who preceded him. He plays a vital role as the link between the past and the future. His artistry pays homage to the masters who have influenced him, and his devotion to teaching the next generation of musicians shows his commitment to perpetuating the legacy of this tradition.
Emarcy is pleased to announce the release of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis' Vitoria Suite, available on October 19th. The two disc set is a new extended work by Marsalis that uses the impulse of the blues as a foundation to jointly explore the music of two worlds and two cultures: the jazz and blues of North America and the indigenous music of the Basque region and flamenco of Spain. Vitoria Suite is a 12-part work, inspired by the 12 measures of the blues, and also includes a bonus "Making Of" DVD. Composer Wynton Marsalis' seamless usage of both Spanish and American styles shows how much the two locations have in common, musically if not geographically. "As outsiders," says Marsalis, "it's not possible for us to play this music in the same way that a Spanish musician would, so instead I've tried to take elements of the music of the region and translate that into the sound of jazz." The Suite isn't only about American musicians experimenting with Spanish forms - it is also about collaborating with leading Spanish players, specifically the legendary flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, whose contribution is a testament to the power of inter-cultural collaboration.
Jazz buffs are very familiar with Wynton Marsalis and his trumpet. Opera lovers know the quality voice of lyrical soprano Kathleen Battle. A perfect blending of these two performers, in the Baroque music, has been acheived in this CD. The match of human voice and trumpet seems to us, at the end of the Twenth Century, a mismatch. But to quote Ellen T. Harris, who wrote the liner notes, "The real and sympolic power of the trumpet makes its combination with the quieter instruments and voice seems, at first, imbrobable, but a softer sweeter style of playing in the high ("clarino") register was typical in art music for the trumpet…". Sounds simple enough, but Wynton is one of the few players who can do it well. So well in fact, that at several points Kathleen's voice and Wynton's trumpet blend into one voice, a balanced singularity, even duplicating each others vibrato exactly. A truely amazing accomplishment, which can only be fully appreciated by listening; but once you hear this glorious sound, you'll want to upgrade your stero system to capture its fullness…By A Customer
Recorded in 2010 over three nights during the Orchestra's week-long residency at the theater, Live in Cuba showcases the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis in concert at Havana's Teatro Mella. This is a dynamic two-disc collection that finds Marsalis and the JCLO celebrating the longstanding ties and creative synergy between American and Afro-Cuban jazz traditions.