343

Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra: Big Train

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra: Big Train All Aboard. In keeping with the Duke Ellington precedence, Wynton Marsalis has been composing longer and longer jazz pieces, music that approximates suites. Starting with The Majesty of the Blues (Columbia, 1989) and proceeding through Blue Interlude (Columbia, 1992), Citi Movement (Columbia, 1993), In This House, On This Morning (Columbia, 1994), Jump Start and Jazz (Columbia, 1997), and the Pulitzer Prize winning Blood on the Fields (Columbia 1997). Add to this list Big Train. Big Train is perhaps Marsalis most cogent and consistent composition in the suite genre. It is precisely composed and performed.

Happy Go Lucky Special. The overwhelming influence here is Ellington. The rhythm of this disc is saturated with his unique saxophone express. What Marsalis brings to the mix is a more judicious use of space and the rhythm section. Ellington may never have written a note that was not necessary, but his compositions are busy pieces, even if blindingly brilliant. Marsalis, through the LCJO's rhythm section sets up an easy rhythm, sometimes chugging, sometimes walking, always propelling forward. If you find that hard to believe, compare "Union Pacific Big Boy,"Northbound-Southbound," and "Engine."

But Ellington is not the only influence. "Smokestack Shuffle" is as much a Thelonious Monk piece as is "Friday the 13th." This disc is also quite instrument specific. As typical of a Marsalis composition, the listener is drowning in plunger-muted brass. Always a fan of the clarinet, Marsalis has written a good deal of clarinet into this piece with all of his reed players contributing on clarinet. This is a fun ride.

The Big Train Reprise. Big Train is the fourth installment in the eight volume Swinging into the 21st Century set. It continues the provocatively creative trend that Marsalis has begun with the release of his Standards Volume 5 collection of Monk tunes. Marsalis is (not so) quietly creating a body of work within traditional jazz that should endure the future nicely.

Track Listing: All Aboard; Observation CarUnion Pacific Big Boy; Smokestack Shuffle; Northbound-Southbound; Dining Car; Night Train; Engine; Bullet Train; Sleeper Car; Station Call; Caboose.

Personnel: Wynton Marsalis: Trumpet and Director; Seneca Black: Trumpet; Ryan Kisor: Trumpet; Marcus Printup: Trumpet; Riley Mullins: Trumpet; Wayne Goodman: Trombone; Wycliffe Gordon: Trombone, Tuba; Ronald Westray: Trombone; Wessell Anderson: Alto and Sopranino Saxophone, Clarinet; Ted Nash: Alto and Soprano Saxophones, Piccolo, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Flute; Walter Blanding, Jr.: Tenor, Alto, and Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet; Victor Goines: Tenor, Alto, and Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet; Joe Temperley: Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone; Farid Barron: Piano; Rodney Whitaker: Bass; Herlin Riley: Drums; Roland Guerrero: Percussion; Doug Wamble: Guitar and Banjo.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Columbia Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Sweet Ruby Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Sweet Ruby Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Unspoken" CD/LP/Track Review Unspoken
by Andrew Luhn
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Ubuntu" CD/LP/Track Review Ubuntu
by James Nadal
Published: September 8, 2016
Read "Happiness!" CD/LP/Track Review Happiness!
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)" CD/LP/Track Review Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)
by John Eyles
Published: October 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.