- Audio CD (March 9, 2004)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Maranatha
- ASIN: B0001CNQNU
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,464 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
The Magic Hour
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Wynton Marsalis has compiled a remarkable track record as a jazz trumpeter, bandleader and composer. He has become the most recognized jazz artist in the world today. He serves as Artistic Director of the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center and is renowned as a jazz statesman-a role officially recognized in 2001 when United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan proclaimed him an international ambassador of goodwill and appointed him a UN Messenger of Peace. Marsalis has won nine Grammy Awards and is the first jazz musician ever to be honored with the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in Music (for his epic 1997 recording Blood on the Fields). Wynton Marsalis has produced 33 jazz and 11 classical records, including three certified gold records.
Now Wynton Marsalis has joined the roster of legendary jazz label Blue Note Records, reuniting with Blue Note president and music industry veteran Bruce Lundvall, who signed Wynton to his very first record deal in 1980. Marsalis makes his label debut with The Magic Hour, an upbeat, lyrical eight-song outing featuring his remarkable quartet-pianist Eric Lewis, bassist Carlos Henriquez and drummer Ali Jackson -and two special guests, Blue Note label mates Dianne Reeves and Bobby McFerrin.
The Magic Hour is Marsalis' first jazz ensemble studio recording since 1999's Marciac Suite. His last album was All Rise, an extended composition for big band, gospel choir and symphony orchestra. "All Rise was such a huge piece involving over two hundred people. I wanted to produce my next recording with a smaller group," says the trumpeter, who settled into Right Track Studios in New York for two days last June to record the new album. "I wanted to restate my basic love of jazz music in a quartet format," says Marsalis.
Wynton Marsalis: Trumpet
Eric Lewis: Piano, Carlos Henriquez: Bass, Ali Jackson: Drums
Dianne Reeves vocals on Feeling of Jazz
Bobby McFerrin vocals on Baby, I Love You
For his debut on this label, Wynton Marsalis gets back to basics with a small combo. Taking a break from his large-ensemble works like Blood on the Fields and All Rise, the trumpeter leads a quartet consisting of bassist Carlos Henriquez, pianist Eric Lewis, and drummer Ali Jackson. Labelmates Bobby McFerrin (who recorded with the trumpeter on the early '80s LP, The Young Lions) and Dianne Reeves join Marsalis on "Baby, I Love You" and "Feeling of Jazz." "Big Fat Hen" is peppered by a New Orleans-meets-Brazil second-line samba, while "Skippin'" is a Monkish riff tune with stop time. The title track, dedicated to the time when kids go to sleep, includes a melodic nod to "The Flight of the Bumblebee," a mid-tempo groove, a ballad and the Cuban clave. With the sterling production by younger brother Delfeayo, Wynton Marsalis starts off on a good foot. --Eugene Holley, Jr.
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Top Customer Reviews
One note- the disc is copy protected. Of all the fans who can be trusted to respect the music, I think Blue Note's are at the top of the list and we should not be punished for supporting the label and the musicians by buying the CD.
If you are a fan of the dense, grandiose, aggressive and adventurous recordings Mr. Marsalis has produced in recent years then this could even be a disappointment. But if what has attracted you to Mr. Marsalis' music in the past has been its basic intelligence and themes, then this will seem like a breath of fresh air, one you might not even realize you needed.
If you know Mr. Marsalis' The Majesty of Blues released way back in 1989, then you have an idea what Magic Hour has to offer -- yes, it's been 15 long years since the modern era's ambassador for the genre produced something that so effortlessly floats out of the speakers.
This may represent a new direction or evolution for Mr. Marsalis, who will turn 43 this year. It includes a new band made up of drummer Ali Jackson, pianist Eric Lewis, and Carlos Henriquez on bass. And it is Mr. Marsalis' first album with Blue Note Records after ages recording on Columbia.
For all its merits, there are two songs here that seem not to fit, both of which involve singers, Dianne Reeves on "Feeling of Jazz," and Mr. Marsalis' long-time collaborator Bobby McFerrin on "Baby, I Love You." Of course, neither is bad (although when I first heard it, "Baby, I Love You" seemed like an afterthought) ... they just don't seem to fit the simple theme of this otherwise lovely collection.