Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wynton Marsalis: Jazz Ambassador

Wynton Marsalis (trumpet; b. 1961)

Wynton Marsalis has been hailed as the "keeper of the flame" for jazz for the last 3 decades. While some might argue that point, there is no denying his masterful talent to shift from his New Orleans jazz, ragtime, & blues roots to more traditional bebop in an instant; his talent is unquestionable.

Wynton's career really took off (as so many others did) while playing with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He quickly became a prominent figure in the collective. Wynton would later sign a deal with Columbia Records and was soon on the trajectory for over 25 albums as leader (including classical recordings) and numerous others as a guest musician.

So where does one begin if you really want to hear what all the hoopla is about? I would highly recommend Popular Songs: The Best Of Wynton Marsalis (Columbia/Legacy). While not covering every album it does give a decent representation of Wynton's best recordings including what I would call a future standard "Black Codes." This a great way to sample Wynton's talent and also a nice introduction if you decide to go further. So now you have wonderful guide map.

After this I would suggest J Mood (Columbia Records) and go from there.

Cherokee (Live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OtZrIjQuwA

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