[JPL] Fw: Marsalis' `All Rise' A Worthy And Imperfect Work
eric-jackson at comcast.net
Tue Jul 13 17:03:21 EDT 2004
>> Metcalf saves me from the challenge of writing my own review, which
> wouldn't deviate much from his. tr at wfcr.org
>> From ctnow.com
>> Marsalis' `All Rise' A Worthy And Imperfect Work
Metcalf only makes one comment about Wynton's playing. He says he didn't
solo enough. I went to see Wyntom June 30 at the Montreal Jazz Festival.
The concert was canceled because Wynton's lip was so sore he wasn't able
to play. The concert with the BSO was July 9th. Maybe that was why he
didn't solo more.
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>> By STEVE METCALF
>> Special To The Hartford Courant
>> July 11, 2004
>> LENOX, Mass. -- An opening-night Boston Symphony concert at Tanglewood
> gets you thinking about a lot of things.
>> The blues as a metaphor for the human condition is not usually one of
>> Defying tradition at several levels, the BSO elected to open its 2004
> summer season with a performance of "All Rise," Wynton Marsalis' epic for
> chorus, jazz ensemble and orchestra. The nearly two-hour piece, which had
> its premiere five years ago with the New York Philharmonic, was performed
> Friday night by the 15-member Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (with
> its leader, sitting first trumpet), the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, a
> quartet of vocal soloists, and the BSO, all shoehorned onto the
>> Kurt Masur, who led the premiere, conducted.
>> It was a smart, adventurous choice, even if some members of the
> opening-night crowd seemed a little stunned by the piece, and more than a
> few tiptoed to the parking lots at intermission.
>> Marsalis, of course, is a complicated phenomenon. To many, he is the
> undisputed torchbearer of the jazz tradition, a witty and thoughtful
> custodian of a lineage that, especially in today's short-memory musical
> marketplace, desperately needs his contextualizing presence.
>> To others he is self-impressed and doctrinaire, freely pontificating not
> only on how to play jazz, but how to even think about it.
>> Nevertheless, everybody in the wider musical community would concede
> the man is a huge talent with a huge personality. He might be irritating
> from time to time, but he is, for lack of a more precise term, authentic.
>> Those words would serve well to describe "All Rise." Its ambitions are
> large, its moments of brilliance are many. It absolutely deserves to
> have a
> continuing life. At the same time, the piece illustrates why, among other
> lessons, there are very few totally successful two-hour pieces of concert
>> Written in 12 substantial sections (one for each measure of the 12-bar
> blues form), "All Rise" is about the universality of experience, filtered
> through an African American sensibility. It partakes of almost every
> Western musical style and genre. There are moments of crisp, almost
> counterpoint (including at one point a nice dialogue between piccolo and
> tuba); moments of Ellingtonian big-band expansiveness; moments of
> delicacy; moments of sustained funk and groove; and moments of
> Mancini-like pop glibness. And for its smiling parting shot, the piece
> with a jaunty Dixieland/gospel ditty composed over the "Bill Bailey"
>> All this is testimony to Marsalis' range. It also can be a little
> distracting for the hardworking listener. Even as you're trying like
> heck to
> follow the thread, you can't help but be drawn into your own home
> version of
> "Name That Influence."
>> This is not a piece that attempts to "make a lady out of jazz," as the
> phrase went when Gershwin wrote "Rhapsody in Blue" for Paul Whiteman 80
> years ago. If anything, it's a piece that tries to see if jazz and
> music can have a fruitful, evening-length conversation, and if so whether
> any conclusions can be reached.
>> Maraslis is not the first to try it. To name just a few who came to mind
> Friday out under the stars, Charles Mingus, Stravinsky, Bernstein
> (especially in "Mass"), Gunther Schuller, Anthony Davis, William Grant
> Still, and, quintessentially, Duke Ellington himself have weighed in. The
> effort has almost always been honorable, the goal almost always elusive.
> Marsalis has added a fine, imperfect new specimen to the collection.
>> The performance, in a work like this, is hard to separate from the work.
> Marsalis' bandmates wailed as an ensemble and shone as soloists. At a few
> junctures, though not frequently enough to suit the crowd, Marsalis
> blew some imposing solos. It was also impressive to see Masur, now nearly
> 80, preside so confidently, offering gentle leadership when required and
> staying out of the way when not.
>> In the end, the piece feels a little like a musical "director's cut": It
> gives us more material than is needed, it repeats things, it strays and
> rambles, it shows off. If he hasn't done so already, Marsalis should
> cull a
> "concert suite" version, or some such highlights vehicle. As written it's
> simply too long and too big to be performed live by any but the biggest
> richest orchestral machines.
>> But whether performed in its entirety or in smaller batches, "All Rise"
> the work of a brave and original musical mind, and that's reason enough
> it to be heard, and heard again.
>> Copyright 2004, Hartford Courant
>> Visit www.ctnow.com for Connecticut news updates, sports stories,
> entertainment listings and classifieds.
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