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Words cannot quite describe Marsalis' "Caravan" solo ... you simply have to listen to it (over and over!) to get the feeling. In addition, the "beat building" of "Autumn Leaves" is nothing less than genius. Marsalis also swings on "Soon All Will Know" and "The Song is You." "Cherokee" (2 takes) provides a refreshing blast of energy, while songs like "Goodbye" are sweet and mellow. Marsalis and his bandmates blend well, with each playing off the others. This is definitely a CD for any jazz enthusiast.
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on August 19, 2001
This is one of my favorite jazz albums. Few young jazz players (anyone born after the late Fifties) can interpret standards as well as Marsalis and the other musicians on this recording. To play a tune that's been played so many times before and give it new life takes talent and an understanding of the music. All the men on this album have that talent and understanding.
One of the other reviewers complained that there are no more Monks or Shorters out there. Well, thank God for that! It'd be an awfully dull world if everyone sounded alike. Thankfully the cats on this record are different from those who came before; they sound diferent and they have different ideas, yet they all understand what jazz is. They know how to communicate and express themselves through music.
David Bradley misunderstands jazz when he comments about jazz losing "it's place as America's most popular music when composition was given a back seat to soloists." What he's referring to is swing and dance band music. Real jazz came about with the soloists of the bebop era. That individual expression is the heart and soul of jazz. If you want to hear it done right, listen to Marsalis and his boys.
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on December 31, 2003
I have been an avid jazz listener for some time, and have kept track of Mr. Marsalis' carrer. I believe that this is an exceptionally accessable CD for those who are not musicians and want to learn about jazz. Far from the Free Jazz of the 60s, but evolved from the bebop era, this CDs created a time and place in my life that did not let me stop listening--even though I am not a musician.
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on July 5, 1999
Marsalis's phenomenal solo on "Caravan" is easily the high point of this solid album. A beginning improviser may wish to study this solo in particular because of the textbook manner in which he constructs it (i.e., building tension through various climaxes before reaching the final climax [as opposed to just filling in chords with a bunch of notes that don't go anywhere]). The quartet plays well throughout the entire album.
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"The wonder of this recording, however, is that we hear such informed boldness from the leader and his players. Only extremely sophisticated musicians could make such complex arrangements swing so authoritatively (e.g., "The Song Is You"), then play with the time so effectively, creating and resolving tensions with an often stunning capacity for grace. The protean accuracy of the adjustments to one another and to the forms of the tunes makes it rather obvious that this is one of the best jazz groups now working. Yes, Marsalis has found himself some extremely talented players." ~ Stanley Crouch ~

Stanley Crouch has perfectly described what makes this album one of the best in jazz recordings. Wynton Marsalis is one of the gifted trumpet players in the jazz scene of today, whose expertise not only encompasses ballads, but also swing and blues numbers. Coming from a family of musicians, his outstanding and creative trumpet artistry is not surprising at all. His father being Ellis Marsalis, a fine pianist who was once a mentor to Harry Connick Jr., who named him as the greatest influence on his creative piano playing. And not to mention his brother, Branford Marsalis, who is also a musician with the saxophone as his master instrument.

"Standard Time, Volume 1" is the first of six volumes focusing on the best standards ever created from the Great American Songbook. It features the Wynton Marsalis Quartet - himself on trumpet, Marcus Roberts on piano, Robert Hurst III on bass and Jeffrey "Tain" Watts on drums. They tackle a dozen of tunes with some kind of exploration and inventiveness that show their respective talents to the fullest, but staying true to the melodies.

The entire album is such an enjoyable listen from the sophisticated groove of Duke Ellington's "Caravan" to the exuberance of Ray Noble's "Cherokee," there isn't any tune that is uninspiring, but I'm more impressed with the ones that resonate with me, tunes that are affectingly beautiful such as a reflective rendition of Eubie Blake's "Memories of You" (I love Marcus Roberts' lyrical piano playing), swinging Jerome Kern's "The Song Is You" and tear-inducing Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye."

This is my first taste of Wynton Marsalis' artistry and as a result, I have added him to my list of the finest musicians who ever graced the world of jazz. A million thanks to an Amazon friend, Brian Fitzpatrick's compelling review...so deserving of a Spotlight treatment. Now I have also added Standard Time, Vol.3: The Resolution Of Romance and Standards & Ballads to my collection. Both are also five-star-materials. I look forward to collecting the rest of the Standards series.

With my heartfelt recommendation for your listening pleasure. Happy Listening!

* * * * * TEN STARS * * * * *
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on January 27, 2007
This swings wonderfully all the way through, with top musicians improvising on great tunes. I have owned this CD for many years, and it still gets regular play; it is good both for parties and for very stimulating private listening. Ignore that arrogant cr*p about this being a "fine starting point for Jazz novices". THIS IS A GREAT JAZZ CD FOR EVERYONE.

Wynton's trumpet is joined by piano (Marcus Roberts), bass (Bob Hurst), and drums (Jeff Watts). This intimate quartet format allows direct and vivid connection to the music. There is no "free jazz" or old style New Orleans stuff; every track is quite pleasurable to the casual modern ear. Recorded in May and September of 1986 at RCA studios, the sound quality is excellent. This record won a Grammy Award in 1988 for "Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group". This is absolutely first rate, straight ahead jazz.

Wynton Marsalis made two other recordings at RCA studios in the 1980s with a similar sound that also won Grammys: "J Mood", (recorded Dec 1985) featuring the same set of musicians, and "Black Codes from the Underground", (recorded Jan 1985) which includes his brother Branford on tenor sax.
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on May 9, 2007
Marsalis interprets jazz standards and few (neo-classical) originals with dexterity and feeling, mostly relying on the bop and (mainstream) neo-bop language, only marginally using (or even ignoring) the stylistic achievements of the classical jazz and of the 70's avant-guarde.

That is to say: this is a coherent and well thought through, not just well played album (by a well-rehearsed and more than competent band).
The dominant mood is somewhat sombre and gloomy, not just because many of the standards are ballads, but check out the two witty and relaxed versions of "Cherokee", a swing standard that became a favorite bop property....

Incidently, the booklet cites Johnny Mercer as the author of the well known French tune "Autumn Leaves" (music by Kosma, lyrics by Prevert)... Mercer may be the author of the English lyrics (not used here - there are no vocal tracks on the album).
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on June 7, 2010
This album resusitated Jazz music at a time that many were saying it was dead. Throughout the 80's, many prominent Jazz players turned to either Pop music or some sort of"Smooth" crap to pay the bills. It is unfortunate that in this country a Jazz musician must choose between keeping the tradition alive or making money. Wynton Marsalis changed all of that and in the process made it cool to play real Jazz. He plays standards on this release and covers many of the best: Caravan, April In Paris, Cherokee, Autumn Leaves. His rise to stardom in turn sparked quite a few other "Young Lions" to step into the spotlight, play the real music, make some money and have the respect of those who came before them.
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on January 11, 2011
This is a great CD of a wonderful trumpet player. I gave this to my son who plays the trumpet in his high school band. He loved it. It introduced him to a new genre of music. It is wonderful to see excellent musicians produce CDs that will reach out to young people.
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on November 6, 2009
One of the better modern hard-bop tributes, this is an exquisitely balanced, thoughtfully blown compilation which would definitively announce Marsalis's genius to traditionalists and experimenters alike.
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