Saturday, July 07, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Wynton Marsalis

Artist:Wynton Marsalis
Album:Popular Songs: The Best Of Wynton Marsalis

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis deserves a lot credit for creating new interest in jazz in the early 80s when it looked like it was dying. But he is also a polarizing figure among jazz critics and other jazz musicians who believe he is overrated. I think part of the problem is he records a lot and it's hard to sift through some of his lessor works to get to the good stuff. He was born Oct. 18, 1961 in New Orleans. His dad Ellis Marsalis is a pianist and a renowned music teacher. His brothers are all musicians. Al Hirt gave Wynton his first trumpet when he was six years old. As a teen, he played with various orchestras and jazz bands in New Orleans. In 1979, he moved to New York to attend Juilliard and he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1980. That's where I first heard him. Not long after, he signed with Columbia Records and his 1982 debut album became a big hit. Since then, Marsalis has recorded jazz and classical albums and all kinds of other things. Some critics believe he is out of his depth in jazz and should stick to classical. I think he's at his best when he is interpreting standards as he is here with Cherokee. It's from his 1986 album Marsalis Standard Time Vol. 1 with Marcus Roberts on piano, Robert Leslie Hurst III on bass and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums. You can get it on this comp which is a decent intro for newcomers. It's just a taste because Marsalis has recorded so much. Marsalis was a consultant on the Ken Burns 2001 documentary Jazz. He hurt the film by imposing his own opinions and convincing Burns there hasn't been any decent jazz since 1970...except Wynton Marsalis. He likes to present himself as a jazz purist but recently he has recorded albums with Willie Nelson and Eric Clapton. So Wynton Marsalis is a good musician but he sends mixed messages. Here's Wynton Marsalis performing Cherokee at the 1993 Bern Jazz Festival.

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