Friday, July 23, 2010

The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration (2003)

(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )

The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration

Anyone who’s ever been put off by the Marsalis machine because of its grandeur, size, or seemingly effortless efficiency will find in this filial pow-wow just enough spontaneity and music for music’s sake (as opposed to culture’s sake or Sony Records’ sake) to enjoy the good time that was obviously had by all. Wynton speaks, but only for twenty-nine seconds, and anyway it’s Harry Connick, Jr.’s fifty-six-second spoken bit that’ll have you turning up the volume. Stanley Crouch, who not only doesn’t speak but also doesn’t contribute liner notes, may not even have been in attendance. The “Supreme Spiritual Being,” on the other hand, to whom the liner notes attribute guidance and blessings, almost certainly was: Making “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” work for eight minutes without evoking Oklahoma! is some trick. Rating: Four broad ways out of five.

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