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Wynton Marsalis: Reeltime

C. Michael Bailey By

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The Penultimate Experience. Wynton Marsalis has reached the next to the last release in his Swinging Into the 21st Century series. When originally released, the enduring buyer could save all of his/her boxtops and mail them to Sony and receive the eighth and final release with a handsome slipcase for the entire set. The re- release of Marsalis' Swinging Into the 21st Century has much more handsome digs than the original.

To the Movies It has been offered by other writers that Marsalis did not break his Miles Davis umbilical cord until he recorded the fine soundtrack Tune In Tomorrow (Columbia, 1989). Reeltime was a commissioned soundtrack to the John Singleton film Rosewood that was not used in deference to a more mainstream John Williams score. A pity, as Marsalis' vision was much more acutely applicable to the subject matter than William's safer, more generic fare.

More than any other release in the Swinging Into the 21st Century series, Reeltime shows on the music molecular level, the dissolution at the edges of genre, style, and substance. Reeltime is a kind of Frankensteinian Pastoral, a series of rural vignettes smelling of dirt and sweat. It touches the fabric of the American South in music. Gospel, blues, New Orleans stomp, they are all threads in this socio-musical coat.

Once again, Marsalis is accompanied by his mates for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He is further joined by the formidable talents of Cassandra Wilson, Mark O'Connor, Mark Schatz, Karen Briggs, Shirley Ceasar and the quartet of Ronee Martin, Bobette Jamison- Harrison, Kay Bowen, and Valerie Williams, among others.

With Wynton Marsalis, there is little recorded music wasted. He and Sony have been good to release as good portion of the music committed to digital. The music here is very fine, reflecting the vision of a controversial figure forging a new path with old methods.

Track Listing: Rosewood; Mr. Mann; Sylvester's Rag; Gentler Times; Gossipin' Hens; Sunday Blessing; I Hear a Knockin'; Go, Possum, Go See All 2; Eyes Around the Corner; Sing On; Morning Song See All 3; I Hear a Knockin'; If I Hold On; Elgin Mills; Rattlesnake Tail Swing See All 2; Dark Heart Beat See All 2; Fire In The Night See All 2; Porch Whiskey; To Higher Ground; After the Dead; Rosewood.

Personnel: Wynton Marsalis; trumpet; Kay Bowen, Valerie Williams, Bobette Jamison-Harrison, Ronee Martin, Shirley Caesar, Cassandra Wilson: vocals; Russell Malone: guitar; Victor Goines: clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone; Wessell Anderson: clarinet, reeds, alto saxophone; Andy Farber, Sherman Irby: clarinet, alto saxophone; Gideon Feldstein: bass clarinet, baritone saxophone; Stephen Riley: tenor saxophone; Jamil Sharif, Marcus Printup, Oscar Brashear, Russell Gunn , Bob Findley, Roger Ingram: trumpet; Ron Westray, Wycliffe Gordon, Bill Reichenbach Jr. , Vincent Gardner: trombone; Eric Reed: piano; Stefon Harris: vibraphone, marimba, drums, percussion; Herlin Riley: drums, tambourine; Kimati Dinizulu: washboard, percussion.

Title: Reeltime | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Sony-Legacy Music


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