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Black Codes


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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Black Codes (Album Version) 9:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. For Wee Folks (Album Version) 9:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Delfeayo's Dilemma (Album Version) 6:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Phryzzinian Man (Album Version) 6:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Aural Oasis (Album Version) 5:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Chambers Of Tain (Album Version) 7:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Blues (Album Version) 5:21$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Musician | Educator | Band leader | Composer | Author | Ambassador

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Wynton Marsalis received his first trumpet at the age of six, a gift from the legendary Al Hirt. Fostered by his community and family, Wynton began to perform in local bands. At the age of 17, he was accepted into The Juilliard School in New York City and soon thereafter ... Read more in Amazon's Wynton Marsalis Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002640
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,814 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Wynton Marsalis ~ Black Codes

Amazon.com

Much has been made of Wynton Marsalis's early-career emulation of the prefusion Miles Davis quintet, an obvious homage that only the most blinkered apologists have refused to ackowledge. Marsalis has accomplished so much on his own that the out-and-out tribute to the classic Davis lineup that "Black Codes..." represents should be seen as a positive step in the remarkable development of an artist rather than an act of fraud. This is sublime music by the first Marsalis quintet, led by Wynton on trumpet and featuring brother Branford on soprano and tenor sax, Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, Charnett Moffet on bass and Kenny Kirkland on piano. All of these musicians would go on to greater heights, but they're in the zone here. --John Swenson

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 25 customer reviews
This is one of the best jazz albums I've ever heard.
finulanu
I don't listen to all of Wynton's stuff so much now but I've enjoyed this album and I strongly recommend it as a high point of jazz in the decade of the '80s.
jasoneducator
I am a piano fan and Kenny Kirkland's playing on this session is phenomenal.
Kenneth James Michael MacLean

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By jasoneducator on July 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Wynton Marsalis is so heavily documented and so heavily opinionated these days that it's difficult to assess his work fairly. For everyone who thinks he single-handedly saved acoustic jazz in the 80s, another will say he is killing its creativity and radical spirit in the 2000s. Certainly I've wavered on this issue over time. Whatever your opinion on Wynton, Black Codes is the strongest of his early albums, before he took to preserving the jazz tradition. More than any of the other albums Black Codes strives to advance it.

The band on here is great. This was before Branford left to join Sting and the heads to the tunes are tight. Jeff Watts is a phenomenal drummer and Wynton shares the spotlight by using "Chambers of Tain" as a drum feature. Kenny Kirkland drives many of the vamps on this album and comps assertively and the bass player strongly anchors these tunes as well.

This album plays well start to finish and has some of Wynton's strongest writing. "Black Codes" with its low end piano as part of the head, "For Wee Folks" with its out of tempo opening and "Delfeayo's Dilemma", a tune that has been covered by artists like Kenny Garrett, are highlights in the set. Wynton nods to the tradiiton by concluding with a blues as well.

The innovations on this album are subtle. It's more a summary of two splendid jazz ensembles: the tight ensembles of the Jazz Messengers that Branford and Wynton played with early in their careers and the thorny modal improvisations of the Miles Davis Quintet. Some people focus only on Miles when assessing this album, but if you listen to Jazz Messengers albums like Mosaic and Free For All you hear how the discipline of this music and the vigor of Tain's playing are more assertive than the cool effortlessness of Miles' group.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth James Michael MacLean on December 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album on vinyl when it first came out, then bought the CD and have been listening to it regularly for 15 years. It is the finest recording Wynton has ever done and this music will stand the test of time. I am a piano fan and Kenny Kirkland's playing on this session is phenomenal. Everyone is in fine form and the music is original, the playing is fresh and passionate. Every track is great listening. This is a CD to play over and over and enjoy over and over again. I agree with the rest of the reviewers about the critic's -- most of these "critics" don't know much about jazz and to compare this group with Miles Davis is a joke -- this is original music and it stands on it's own quite nicely!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is my first real jazz album. I'm listening to it right now and Tain is tearing it up and Marsalis is on fire. I don't think I know enough about the genre to be critical, but what I can tell you is this Album can bring you to tears. It gets you right in the gut and makes your heart beat and it tears into you. Almost a religious experience. I'm hooked. Favorite track: Chambers of Tain
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Jones on May 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
There's something funny about this album. Well, not the album, per se, but the critical reception of said album. Ever notice how whenever cats talk about this album or review it, they always name-drop Miles second quintet? (the one with Shorter, Hancock, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter) I've got a question for y'all: WHY? aside from a few ostensible similarities to the Davis quintet, how is this music like the stuff Miles was doing back in the pre-fusion 60s? I mean, if you're gonna compare these groups, back it up with something! I'm not saying there aren't some similarities, but cats who review Black Codes *always* name-drop Miles' quintet without ever digging into the music. That said, this is a superb recording--probably my favorite in Wynton's discography. The rhythm section is sickeneningly tight, and the two Marsalises play beautifully. I like most of Wynton's stuff, but this might just be one of the best jazz recordings of the 80s...heck, the 90s too. If you don't have this, then RUN (don't walk) to your nearest record store and pick it up.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A-Ron on April 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Honestly, even if this was a complete rip off of Miles' work, which it clearly isn't, the group is stunning enough. I mean, Joe Henderson made a TRIBUTE ALBUM to Miles and it also won two grammys (and pretty much deserved them), and no one gave him any problems. No one will doubt that this quintet with Branford, Wynton, Kenny Kirkland, Tain Watts, and Moffet, was one of the best of the 1980s, and this album, as I and most others contend, this is probably their definitive album. Yet, I don't think really think this was a homage album to Miles Davis. If it was, Wynton probably would have brought direct attention to it. Clearly, Wynton's trumpet playing is definitely influenced by Miles 1960s work, but not solely. Yet other than that, I really don't any real obvious similarities between 65-68 Miles Quintet and this work, and trust me, I know Miles' work from that period very well. Really, the only copying going on related to "Black Codes From the Underground" was by critics who didn't know any better than to call the album an advance in Miles' music if they liked Wynton, or to call it a rip off of Miles if they didn't like him. I think a lot of these critics were either jaded by the extremely rapid acoustic jazz revival of the 1980s, or just didn't know much about the musical details of jazz and made a swift, dumb assumption according to other critics' views. Trust me, this should be one of, if not your first Wynton album. It is a group of great improvisers and complete musicians at their tightest, and at least for me, evokes a great amount of emotion. Also, despite what some say, this is a highly creative effort.
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