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This box set is the definitive document of Wynton Marsalis' classic recordings
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A feisty boy wonder no longer, Wynton Marsalis, at 50 years of age, has matured into the ever-phenomenal musician and thoughtful spokesperson that the music he loves deserves. The world’s most famous living jazz musician didn’t achieve that status on charm alone. The man who jump-started the jazz revival of the 1980s and has upheld his high musical standards ever since, is a remarkable trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and arranger. Marsalis has exhibited prodigious skills that no other figure of his generation can match.
Hand-picked by Marsalis himself, the eleven discs of Swingin’ Into the 21st display his extraordinary musical range. Five of these definitive recordings were released in a single year: 1999. Fiddler’s Tale is a chamber music riff on Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale”; Standard Time, Vol. 4: Marsalis Plays Monk refracts the classic work of Thelonious Monk through the lens of the trumpeter's crack octet; At The Octoroon Balls, another ambitious chamber piece that calls on classical and folk motifs; Big Train, an Ellington inspired long form work; Sweet Release & Ghost Story, two jazz ballets; Standard Time, Vol. 6: Mr. Jelly Lord, a loving tribute to the New Orleans master, Jelly Roll Morton; Reeltime, a collection of original film music.
2000 saw the release of The Marciac Suite, offering a swinging septet opus, and Selections from The Village Vanguard Box, capturing performances from the Marsalis septet at a favored venue; All Rise (released in 2002) is a massive, proudly eclectic work.
The sheer amount of incredible music found here, garnered from a brief period of time -- a massive effort for practically any other artist of that period -- was but a mere drop in the bucket for the prolific and endlessly creative Marsalis. The beauty of these middle period recordings is that they capture a brilliant artist at an aesthetic peak while also pointing the way for other achievements that would follow. If Marsalis has indeed kept swingin’ into the 21st, these ten gems give notice that he had prepared himself to the hilt.
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