Wynton Marsalis Continues the Project of Jazz and Politics with a New Album

0 Posted by - March 19, 2007 - Blog

Prolific American jazz musician Wynton Marsalis has released one of his most political albums to date with “From the Plantation to the Penitentiary.” Mixing his traditionalist jazz technique with spoken word delivered in angry and powerful bouts, this album is a one part indictment of a history of racism that continues in America against its African descendent population and one part call to arms for that population to rise up. Bluenote describes the album of as “uncompromising” and one that offers “looks at the cracks in America's facade of prosperity and happiness. A BBC Jazz review by Matthew Rogers sums up the album best:

Marsalis releases his fury with American culture with the first note of his solo in the title track, seemingly saying: 'sit up and and be righteously angry at these injustices.' By the final cut, “Where Y’all At?”, where a soulful chorus is interrupted by a sharp-tongued Wynton interjecting spoken-word rants before the album’s abrupt end, you'll be shaken. This is powerful stuff.

What is most refreshing is that Marsalis continues to provoke and push the boundaries of jazz – blending his knowledge of classical and traditional jazz with trumpet sounds that pierce the night and punctuate the complacency and inequities that he continues to battle to this day. Marsalis has been a prolific performer with 16 classical albums and over 30 jazz albums to his name, and has matched these efforts with his dedication to civic involvement in politics, most recently emerging as one of New Orleans's most outspoken and outstanding civic leaders in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

To read up on Marsalis, visit his site, or the Wikipedia page on him. To pick up his album, visit bluenote's site.

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