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The Abyssinian Mass

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 18, 2016
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Editorial Reviews

In 2008, nine-time GRAMMY Award winner Wynton Marsalis was commissioned to write a piece commemorating the 200th anniversary of Harlem s Abyssinian Baptist Church. The result was a sacred celebration: a sweeping composition for a big band and 70-piece gospel choir. In 2013, award-winning recording artist Damien Sneed and his choir, Chorale Le Chateau, joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis on a 16-city, 19-show tour across the American south and into deep dialogue with the African American history. Now, The Abyssinian Mass Marsalis s first original recorded composition in six years documents this piece s immense power to make audiences clap their hands and sing along to its joyous spirituality, its profound swing, and its bluesy swagger.

This landmark double album also includes a new essay from renowned public intellectual Leon Wieseltier and a bonus DVD documentary that features performances, interviews, and insights into the process behind The Abyssinian Mass. The album s exploration of the African American experience places it in the tradition of Marsalis's Pulitzer Prize-winning composition and record Blood on the Fields. As The Abyssinian Mass reminds us, In this great land of ours, everyone has a place. No matter your faith or background, The Abyssinian Mass is a sprawling, soulful triumph and a swinging affirmation of just how good being human can feel.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 18, 2016)
  • Original Release Date: March 18, 2016
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Blue Engine Records
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • ASIN: B01B7AQCJY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,256 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 20, 2016
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wynton Marsalis has written an oratorio, ballet scores, a quartet, symphonies, and a lot of jazz, but now he offers a full mass, a 2-hour prayer service modeled on the Abyssinian Baptist rite in honor of Harlem's church of the same name, celebrating its 200-year anniversary. He also assembled or wrote the text, other than the ad hoc Sermon, here given by the church's own Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Chorale Le Chateau, conducted by Damien L. [LeChateau] Sneed, perform on this 2-disc live recording. The third disc in this album is a DVD of excerpts along with introductory commentaries by Marsalis. Sacred jazz has a long history, with contributions by Mary Lou Williams, Duke Ellington, Vince Guaraldi, and Dave Brubeck, among others, and John Coltrane's A Love Supreme can introduce the listener to the Divine, but this album is a real jazz mass, Protestant style, with 18 sections from the beginning Devotional to the Invocation to the Scripture to the final Amen. While the mass in its entirety is powerful and noble, few of these individual sections are musically memorable. For me, there are several highlights. The Devotional begins with "Hmm, hmm, hmm," which Marsalis regards as the Holy Ghost, and which I expand to the Hindu A-U-M and the Muslim Hoo [God as Sound, the Big Bang, Vibrating String Theory are related concepts]. Another feature is the Call to Worship, which begins with "God is great!" These words are also the start of the Islamic Call to Prayer, Al-adhán [Allahu Akbar], and Marsalis provides an interesting score with Spanish/Flamenco references, including the saeta.Read more ›
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I loved this so much that I bought my mother a copy for Mother's Day. It's a wonderful performance for classical, gospel and jazz fans. Wynton Marsalis is a genius. I also can't say enough about the chorus and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
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This Abyssinian Mass is a very inspiring piece of music. It is well put together, and the sound is magnificent. Wynton really did something in writing and putting this together. I am very glad that I purchased it.
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I have a 17 year old who is a trumpet player in his high school band,he,me,and our family are HUGE Wynton Marsalis fans,anything he touches is a learning experience for young people and the like.me personally as the mother of the fam really enjoyed the jazz and old tyme religion that he put to this double cd/dvd. love love love him.and so does my boy. who at 17,his high school marching band jus was in the macys parade last year in new York 2015, saw Wynton in cincy summer of 2014, he's a great musician and an inspiration to young high/mid school musicians. plus my son Is a trumpet player.yes we are spriutual African Methodist episcopal people,and we honor him that honors us,as a people.love you much Wynton,keep on playing and teaching.
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