Wynton Marsalis' Swinging Into The 21st Redux

C. Michael Bailey By

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Sony Legacy has re-issued trumpeter Wynton Marsalis' monumental recorded conclusion to the 20th century, Swinging Into The 21st. Originally comprised of nine albums released between June 1999 and August 2000, Swinging Into The 21st was Marsalis' effort to cap two decades of recording with CBS/Sony. The music was impressive in its variety and creative density.

For this reissue, Marsalis' jazz cantata All Rise (Sony, 2002) is included. Composed and premiered during the period of Swinging Into The 21st, it represents the capstone to the series, a musical acknowledgement of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The album was made September 14th and 15th, 2001, in spite of the attacks and in support of the American resolve. It is a fitting coda for this important body of work.

Collected below are contemporary reviews of all 10 original album releases. They are arranged in the order of the reissue.

American music owes Wynton Marsalis much. Let us honor him.

A Fiddler's Tale

Yes, indeed! Wynton Marsalis's series Swinging Into The 21st series is shaping up to be a most significant body of music. Initiated with his volume 4 collection of standards, Marsalis Plays Monk (Columbia, 1998), Marsalis continues his ambitious series with an American adaptation of Igor Stravinsky's L'Historie du soldat (A Soldier's Tale). Continue...

Standard Time Vol. 4: Marsalis Plays Monk

Academic Freedom. Marsalis Plays Monk is the fourth in Wynton Marsalis's Standard Time series and the first in a series of CDs comprising the Swinging Into The 21st project. Regardless of anything said about Wynton Marsalis, he is a dedicated educator and purveyor of jazz music. Continue...

At the Octoroon Balls

At The Octoroon Balls. In Creole tradition, balls were held for Creole men to choose their Octoroon (one-eighth Negro) mistresses. This is a most perfect title for Marsalis' iconoclastic string quartet which encompasses all of American music in its seven movements. This is much in keeping with the tradition of Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Charles Ives, using pieces of Americana in their compositions. Continue...

Big Train

All Aboard. In keeping with the Duke Ellington precedent, 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). Continue...

Sweet Release & Ghost Story

Volume 5. Wynton Marsalis continues Swinging Into The 21st with this fifth chapter. So far we have had an interesting mix of classical and jazz, the orchestral and Kammermusik, the new and the old. Sweet Release & Ghost Story consists of two new ballets composed by Marsalis. Continue...

Standard Time, Vol. 6: Mr. Jelly Lord

Volume Six Squared. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis' Mr. Jelly Lord is cleverly Volume Six in two different collections. It is Volume 6 in Marsalis' continuing survey of the American canon of standard tunes and it is also Volume 6 in his ambitious Swinging Into The 21st series. Continue...


The Penultimate Experience. Wynton Marsalis has reached the next to the last release in his Swinging Into The 21st series. When originally released, the loyal 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. Continue...

Live At The Village Vanguard

Wynton's Generous Gift or Where Are We, Toto? 1999 was a busy year for Wynton Marsalis. He released his eight disc series Swingin' Into The 21st, a Duke Ellington tribute disc—Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra: Live in Swing City (Columbia)—and finally this gargantuan live offering recorded at New York's Jazz Central, The Village Vanguard. Continue...

The Marciac Suite

Finally...The End. If you dutifully purchased each volume of Wynton Marsalis' Swinging Into The 21st series, collecting the little tokens and sticking them on the collection card, and, finally, mailing that card in, then around two months later the final chapter of Marsalis' jazz lovefest arrived on your doorstep. Continue...

All Rise

Originally released in 2002 as a stand-alone offering, Wynton Marsalis' sacred composition will be enjoying a reprise as part of Legacy Records' re-issue of Marsalis' landmark collection, Swingin' Into The 21st. Continue...


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