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Wynton Marsalis - Angel Eyes

Posted by T. Bawden Friday, 17 July 2009

Wynton Marsalis - Angel Eyes - 4/5
Part 1:
Part 2:

This was the first Jazz album that I ever bought. When reviewing a Jazz album one is faced with many difficulties: how to describe the sounds without sounding cliché; giving it a fair rating; finding the element that distinguishes it from other Jazz etc. I must admit I am at a loss as to how to do this, so, with my eyes shut tightly, I will jump right into it.

In 'Angel Eyes' the famous trumpeter has, once again, managed to capture the essence of good Jazz - that contradictory quality that is so elusive in most artists' work: a relaxed energy. From the start one is made almost painfully aware of the instrumental prowess of all the members: the pianist, the drummer, the bassist and trumpeter himself. All instruments get a fair chance to show what they`re made of, none being supressed, none being favoured. A good example to illustrate this is 'Time Will Tell', where all instruments, even the bassist, are given centre-stage for a good part of the song.

On the album one will only find one form of music: fast-paced, acoustic jazz. Basic Jazz drums. Basic bass. Basic piano. Basic trumpet. It`s all composed of basic bits. But just because the Eiffel Tower is made of steel doesn`t mean it`s the same as a jungle gym... It really pulls together to create a comprehensive, powerful album that I can listen to over and over again.

There is also the ever-present atmosphere which the music creates - relaxed and calm, yet imposing and clear. This is the sort of music I imagine myself buying stainless-steel kitchenware and silver refrigerators to for my state-of-the-art kitchen in my New York penthouse. I can`t really explain it any further, unless you want me to specify the design. It`s not the type of music that you get emotionally attached to. It`s cold and dead - almost 'metallic' in it`s precision and 'silver' in it`s clarity.

But, all that being said, Jazz was never meant to be 'weighed down' by something as ephemeral and mundane as emotions. Where Robert Johnson is the therapist of the music world - speaking to the heart - Wynton Marsalis is, in my mind at least, the assassin of the music world - ruthless, goal-oriented and VERY cool.

The first Jazz album that I ever bought: I had seen this man playing on David Letterman (yes, it seems mainstream media DOES do some things right from time to time) and instantly fell in love with him (in a completely homosexual manner, of course :P). This album did not dissappoint.

Editors Note: Apparently there are two versions of this, one claiming Wynton Marsalis as the musician responsible, and others Art Blakey. As I found no evidence of a front cover attributing it to Blakely, I have used Marsalis as the proprieter, though Blakely was most likely the drummer in this piece

1 Responses to Wynton Marsalis - Angel Eyes

  1. The Jackyl Says:
  2. I reject that comment about Jazz being emotionless. Strongly.



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Guide to the Ratings
0/5 - This caused me physical pain
1/5 - This is really bloody awful
2/5 - This was below average
3/5 - This was above average
4/5 - This was pretty darn good.
5/5 - I cannot fault this epitome of perfection.

I cant guarantee all reviewers adhere to these guidelines, but work as a general guide.

Author's credit is given on all posts.