Wynton Marsalis

Swinging Into The 21st (11-CD Box Set)

Box Sets & Special Editions

Wynton Marsalis (tp, lead), with Russell Gunn, Marcus Printup (tp), Lucien Barbarin, Wycliffe Gordon (tb), Sherman Irby, Ted Nash (saxes), Cyrus Chestnut, Marcus Roberts, Harry Connick Jr (p), Russell Malone (g), Rodney Whitaker (b), Jason Marsalis (d)

Reference: 88697 944282

Bar code: 886979442825

This box set is the definitive document of ten of the Wynton Marsalis' most inspired recordings.

· Each album features rare bonus tracks
· Includes alternate & unreleased versions
· 10 great albums on 11 CDs
· Each album is packaged in a replica mini-LP-style sleeve reproducing that album's original cover art

A feisty boy wonder no longer, Wynton Marsalis, at 50 years of age, has matured into the ever-phenomenal musician and thoughtful spokesperson that the music he loves deserves. The worlds most famous living jazz musician didnt achieve that status on charm alone. The man who jump-started the jazz revival of the 1980s and has upheld his high musical standards ever since, is a remarkable trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and arranger. Marsalis has exhibited prodigious skills that no other figure of his generation can match.

Hand-picked by Marsalis himself, the eleven discs of Swingin Into the 21st display his extraordinary musical range. Five of these definitive recordings were released in a single year: 1999. Fiddlers Tale is a chamber music riff on Stravinskys The Soldiers Tale; Standard Time, Vol. 4: Marsalis Plays Monk refracts the classic work of Thelonious Monk through the lens of the trumpeter's crack octet; At The Octoroon Balls, another ambitious chamber piece that calls on classical and folk motifs; Big Train, an Ellington inspired long form work; Sweet Release & Ghost Story, two jazz ballets; Standard Time, Vol.6: Mr. Jelly Lord, a loving tribute to the New Orleans master, Jelly Roll Morton; Reeltime, a collection of original film music.

2000 saw the release of The Marciac Suite, offering a swinging septet opus, and Selections from The Village Vanguard Box, capturing performances from the Marsalis septet at a favored venue; All Rise (released in 2002) is a massive, proudly eclectic work.

The sheer amount of incredible music found here, garnered from a brief period of time -- a massive effort for practically any other artist of that period -- was but a mere drop in the bucket for the prolific and endlessly creative Marsalis. The beauty of these middle period recordings is that they capture a brilliant artist at an aesthetic peak while also pointing the way for other achievements that would follow. If Marsalis has indeed kept swingin into the 21st, these ten gems give notice that he had prepared himself to the hilt.

Albums included:

CD 1 - A Fiddler's Tale (1999)
CD 2 - Standard Time, Vol.4: Marsalis Plays Monk (1999)
CD 3 - At The Octoroon Balls (1999)
CD 4 - Big Train (1999)
CD 5 - Sweet Release & Ghost Story (1999)
CD 6 - Standard Time, Vol.6: Mr. Jelly Lord (1999)
CD 7 - Reeltime (1999)
CD 8 - Selections from The Village Vanguard Box (2000)
CD 9 - The Marciac Suite (2000)
CD 10 & 11 - All Rise [Double Set] (2002)


Complete tracklisting:

CD 1

01. Part 1 - Narrator: "It always starts"
02. Fiddler's March
03. Scene 1: Narrator: "Her Name is Beatrice Connors"
04. Fiddler's Soul
05. Narrator: "She's Floating on a Dream Cloud"
06. Fiddler's March (Reprise)
07. Scene 2 - Narrator: "Now that he has her going"
08. Reprise 2 (End of March)
09. Scene 3 - Narrator: "Beatrice Connors is now"
10. Pastorale
11. Devil: "More Words on Fame"
12. Fiddler's Soul (Reprise)
13. Part 2, Scene 4 - Narrator: "Keeping One Hundred Dollars"
14. Happy March
15. Scene 5 - Narrator: "The illness of the land"
16. Little Concert Piece
17. Narrator: "Musicians, You Must Play"
18. Tango, Waltz, Ragtime
19. Narrator: "The music causes the Savior"
20. Devil's Dance
21. Narrator: "The Music Was Too Strong"
22. Little Chorale
23. Devil's Song, The (BZB Speaks)
24. Great Chorale
25. Narrator: "But Beatrice Connors"
26. Blues On Top

CD 2

01. Thelonious
02. Evidence
03. We See
04. Monk's Mood
05. Worry Later
06. Four In One
07. Reflections
08. In Walked Monk
09. Hackensack
10. Let's Cool One
11. Brilliant Corners
12. Brake's Sake
13. Ugly Beauty
14. Green Chimneys

CD 3

01. Come Long Fiddler - Orion String Quartet
02. At the Octoroon Balls - String Quartet No.1: Mating Calls & Delta Rhythms
03. At the Octoroon Balls - String Quartet No.1: Creole Contradanzas
04. At the Octoroon Balls - String Quartet No.1: Many Gone
05. At the Octoroon Balls - String Quartet No.1: Hellbound Highball
06. At the Octoroon Balls - String Quartet No.1: Blue Lights on the Bayou
07. At the Octoroon Balls - String Quartet No.1: Rampart St. Row House Rag
08. The Fiddler's March
09. A Fiddler's Tale Suite: A Fiddler's Soul
10. A Fiddler's Tale Suite: Pastorale
11. A Fiddler's Tale Suite: Happy March
12. Concert Piece
13. A Fiddler's Tale Suite: Tango, Waltz, Ragtime
14. A Fiddler's Tale Suite: The Devil's Dance
15. A Fiddler's Tale Suite: Big Chorale
16. The Blues on Top

CD 4

01. All Aboard
02. Observation Car
03. Union Pacific Big Boy
04. Smokestack Shuffle
05. Northbound-Southbound
06. Dining Car
07. Night Train
08. Engine
09. Bullet Train
10. Sleeper Car
11. Station Call
12. The Caboose

CD 5

01. Sweet Release: Home: Beyond This Rage
02. Sweet Release: Church: Renewing Vows
03. Sweet Release: Church Basement: Party
04. Street: Make Room For Me
05. Home: Give Me Your Hand
06. Ghost Story: Introduction
07. Ghost Story: Acknowledgment
08. Tango
09. First Blues
10. Ghost Story: Awakening
11. Ghost Story: Celebration
12. Ghost Story: Second Blues
13. Ghost Story: Recognition & Reconciliation

CD 6

01. Red Hot Pepper
02. New Orleans Bump
03. King Porter Stomp
04. The Pearls
05. Deep Creek
06. Mamanita
07. Sidewalk Blues
08. Jungle Blues
09. Big Lip Blues
10. Dead Man Blues
11. Smokehouse Blues
12. Billy Goat Stomp
13. Courthouse Bump
14. Black Bottom Stomp
15. Tom Cat Blues

CD 7

01. Rosewood (Voice)
02. Mr. Mann (Instrumental)
03. Sylvester's Rag (Instrumental)
04. Gentler Times (Instrumental)
05. Gossipin' Hens (Instrumental)
06. Sunday Blessing (Instrumental)
07. I Hear a Knockin' (Quartet, Voice)
08. Go, Possum, Go (Instrumental)
09. Eyes Around the Corner (Instrumental)
10. Sing On (Instrumental)
11. Morning Song (Instrumental)
12. I Hear a Knockin' (solo) (Voice)
13. If I Hold On (Voice)
14. Elgin Mills (Instrumental)
15. Rattlesnake Tail Swing (Instrumental)
16. Dark Heart Beat (Instrumental)
17. Fire in the Night (Instrumental)
18. Porch Whiskey (Instrumental)
19. To Higher Ground (Instrumental)
20. After the Dead (Instrumental)
21. Rosewood (Voice)

CD 8

01. Welcome (Live)
02. The Cat In The Hat Is Back (Live)
03. Embraceable You (Live)
04. Reflections (Live)
05. Buggy Ride (Live)
06. I'll Remember April (Live)
07. Misterioso (Live)
08. Flee as a Bird To The Mountain (Live)
09. Happy Feet Blues (Live)
10. Cherokee (Live)
11. Juba and A O'Brown Squaw (Live)
12. Local Announcements (Live)

CD 9

01. Loose Duck
02. The Big Top
03. Jean-Louis Is Everywhere
04. Mademoiselle D'Gascony
05. Armagnac Dreams
06. Marciac Fun
07. For My Kids at the Collège of Marciac
08. Marciac Moon
09. D'Artagnan
10. Guy Lafitte
11. B is for Boussaget (and Bass)
12. In the House of Laberriere
13. Sunflowers

CD 10

01. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 1: Jubal Step
02. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 2:
A Hundred and a Hundred, a Hundred and Twelve
03. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 3: Go Slow (But Don't Stop)
04. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 4: Wild Strumming of Fiddle
05. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 5: Save Us
06. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 6: Cried, Shouted, Then Sung
07. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 7: Look Beyond
08. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 8: The Halls of Erudition And Scholarship

CD 11

01. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 9: El 'Gran' Baile de la Reina
02. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 10: Expressbrown Local
03. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 11: Saturday Night Slow Drag
04. All Rise - Highlights: Movement 12: I Am (Don't You Run From Me)



"As Pulitzer and 9-time Grammy Award®-winner Wynton Marsalis eases into his 50th birthday on October 18, 2011, he casts his memory back a dozen years to 1998-99. With the new millennium on the way, Wynton began to lay plans with Columbia Records and Sony Classical for an unprecedented release of nine major album projects that would eventually span 1999 and 2000. A timely name was given to the campaign, "Swinging into the 21st!" and the artist dedicated himself to the immense task ahead. Now in honor of Wynton's 50th birthday, those nine albums plus his career-defining masterpiece All Rise (a double-CD, recorded in Los Angeles three days after 9/11, and released in 2002) will be packaged together in a deluxe box set as an extremely limited edition direct-to-consumer exclusive. From chamber music to studio and live dates with his septet, jazz and blues tributes, film music, scores for ballet, modern classical and orchestral works, to some bonafide swing, Wynton's musical universe opens up on Swingin Into The 21st.

"That entire year," Wynton writes of 1999 in his illuminating liner notes essay, "from January 1st to the performance of All Rise with the New York Philharmonic on December 29th, I worked every day from 5 in the morning until 1 or 2 the next morning. I was music, music, music." In conjunction with the box set, a special 14-track single-CD sampler will also be issued, with selections personally chosen by Wynton. Selections From The 21st will be available through all standard retail outlets on the same date as the box.

All the motifs that are found throughout Swinging Into The 21st are ideas that had been explored in one way or another during Wynton's first two decade period with Columbia Records and Sony Classical. Indeed, since his signing to CBS Records in 1981, and virtually single-handedly commandeering the new 'Young Lions' school of jazz neo-traditionalists, Wynton had covered enormous territory. By the time he parted with Sony Music in 2002, he had released over 40 jazz albums on Columbia and nearly 20 titles on the classical side. No major artist, hands down, has ever come close to that output.

Yet, as prolific as Wynton was and still is there were many projects that could not be accommodated with an album release. The "Swinging into the 21st!" campaign was a high-profile method of bringing a bounty of those projects to his public, in what turned out to be less than 18 months' time. (Hard-core fans could obtain a specially-printed d.i.y. cardboard box to house eight of the first nine titles, with their contiguous spine designs.) "Each release featured a different ensemble and style of music," Wynton goes on to write, "and a unique set of musical challenges. The one unifying factor was jazz, which is the foundation of all that I do and hope to do." Most of the works had one fact in common: they had been performed in concert at least one time before the studio recording. Standard Time, Vol. 6 Mr. Jelly Lord, for example, the Jelly Roll Morton tribute, was a theme-time concert first presented at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 1989, long before it was recorded in 1999. At The Octoroon Balls was premiered on May 7, 1995 at Alice Tully Hall by the Orion String Quartet, prior to its 1998 recording. A brief recap of each album title follows, with more detailed track listing and personnel information at the end:

A Fiddlers Tale: This two-part suite is based on 20th century classical composer Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat, which Wynton confesses, "I have loved since first hearing it as a 15 year old." Where Stravinsky's soldier sold his soul, Wynton re-casts the main character as a young violinist who sells her soul (to a record company!). Wynton's story line is scripted by the eminent Stanley Crouch, and narrated by the multi-talented Andre De Shields. To create the same small ensemble as Stravinsky, Wynton employs members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (which included Edgar Meyer and Stefon Harris back in 1998, when this was recorded). Says Wynton: "This composition demonstrates the kinship between Stravinsky's harmonic and rhythmic language and the language of modern jazz with a New Orleans accent."

Standard Time, Vol. 4: Marsalis Plays Monk: The fourth entry in Wynton's popular Standard Time series is a straight-ahead tribute to jazz pianist-composer Thelonious Monk. It was recorded in sessions with Wynton's [now all-star] septet lineups of 1993-94 (see below), with whom he had toured "all over the world." To his credit, he does not cover 'Monk's greatest hits,' but instead delves deeper into his repertoire. "A good example," Wynton notes, "is 'Evidence,' which uses the syncopation of broken silences to feature the always inventive [drummer] Herlin Riley."

At The Octoroon Balls A Fiddlers Tale Suite: As described, Wynton's first composition for string quartet, At The Octoroon Balls, recorded in 1998 by the "fabulous" Orion String Quartet, "explores the American Creole contradictions and compromises cultural, social, and political exemplified by life in New Orleans." The liner notes essay by Leon Wieseltier (literary editor of the New Republic) elaborates: "The balls that give their name to these stringent, voluptuous movements were institutions of old New Orleans, at which Creole men chose Octoroon women for their mistresses vivacious rituals of mixture, in which the terribilities of race collided jubilantly with the terribilities of sex." At The Octoroon Balls shares this CD with the instrumental (no narrations) version of A Fiddler's Tale, recorded at the same sessions as the full-length version above.

Big Train: It's no secret that Wynton hates flying, and would rather hop a train like all the great bandleaders used to Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and the big Trane, John Coltrane, that is. Wynton composed and recorded this collection in 1998 for his son Jasper who was living in Los Angeles at the time, while Wynton lived in New York. As the wyntonmarsalis.org website notes, "spiritual engineers and conductors, Wynton and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra invite you to join their gang of rail riders on a journey that crisscrosses the landscape of America transported by its greatest art form, jazz."

Sweet Release & Ghost Story: Here are scores for two ballets from "totally different choreographers." Sweet Release was composed for Judith Jamison with the world famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and was recorded at Tarrytown (NY) Music Hall in 1996 with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, among whose members are Wynton's septet mates. It tells the story "of a man and a woman, represented by the trombone and trumpet, and the temptations that threaten their romance." Ghost Story was commissioned for Zhongmei Li's (then) newly established dance company, who wanted a more spare, minimalist work. It was recorded in 1998 at Lincoln Center's Rose Studio by a hand-picked quintet who, as Stanley Crouch's liner notes affirm, "aptly describe a protean ghost, a fore of trickery and an agent of the heartbreak that from having been duped all the way to the bottom of the bucket of the blues."

Standard Time, Vol. 6 Mr. Jelly Lord: Similar to Standard Time, Vol. 4 (above), this is a straight-ahead tribute to the songs and wit of Jelly Roll Morton, beloved icon to the New Orleans-raised (or influenced) cats in Wynton's inner circle. The genesis was a concert Wynton played at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 1989; this album has the distinction of being the first in the box set actually recorded in 1999 (January). Wynton brought a handful of New Orleans veterans to join his quintet for the sessions Lucien Barbarin, Michael White, Donald Vappie, and check out Harry Connick, Jr. on "Billy Goat Stomp"! The closing "Tom Cat Blues" was actually recorded on century-old equipment at New Jersey's Thomas Edison Laboratories, a National Historic Site.

Reeltime: "In essence," Wynton says, "what many writers have discovered is that when you look closely at a small town, you will see the human species at its best and brightest and darkest and lowest." The ever-observant Wynton applied his talent to the Rosewood massacre of 1923, when a primarily black Florida town was razed to the ground by white racists bent on lynching. At least six blacks were killed and their town was abandoned and forgotten until the 1980s, leading to state reparations and the 1997 film by John Singleton. Wynton's evocative score, recorded in 1996, includes bluesy vocals by Cassandra Wilson on the title track, a gospel choir fronted by Shirley Caesar, bluegrass fiddling by virtuoso violinist Mark O'Connor, a taste of Claude Williams' New Orleans fiddle, the cool jazz of Miles & Gil, and much more. The score was not used for the film, but fortunately was preserved as an important entry in Wynton's discography.

Selections From The Village Vanguard Box: The '90s proved that there was a vigorous jazz market for multi-disc anthologies devoted to one artist, especially live material. Released December 1999, Wynton's 7-CD box set Live at the Village Vanguard might have been sub-titled A Week at the Village Vanguard because of its CD sequencing. That is, Monday on CD 1, Tuesday on CD 2, and so on. In fact, it melded material recorded by three Septet lineups at sold-out gigs in the jazz club during 1990-94, so that each CD was a multi-year entity unto itself. In March 2000, this single-CD compilation captured the seven-night feel, and became the first of the year 2000 releases in the "Swinging into the 21st!" campaign.

The Marciac Suite: Wynton's Septet was an established presence at the annual summer jazz festival in the beautiful medieval town of Marciac, France, long before he decided to record this tribute. Like he showed on the Rosewood score, Wynton is expert at capturing the essences of small town life, the characters and situations, flavors and aromas that make it special. With colorful titles like "Jean-Louis Is Everywhere,' "Mademoiselle D'ascony," "Armagnac Dreams," "Marciac Moon," "D'Artagnan," "Guy Lafitte," and "B Is For Boussaget (and Bass)," you can practically inhale the fragrance of Marciac. Recorded in February, this was the second of the "Swingin'" projects to actually be recorded in 1999, after Standard Time, Vol. 6 (above); and the second of only two albums to be released by Wynton in 2000 (after Selections From The Village Vanguard Box, above).

All Rise: It's all here in Wynton's penultimate masterwork, and his swan song at Columbia Records. Echoes of Ellington, Mingus, Stravinsky, and Copland inform the piece, profoundly American in its scope, from blues and gospel to New Orleans and New York. The 2-CD, 106-minute opus spreads over 12 tracks, 12 movements that emulate the 12-bar blues. It is an extraordinary work on the scale of Wynton's Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio of 1997, Blood On The Fields. The grandeur of All Rise is best introduced by Wynton's own massive 4,200-word annotation and Stanley Crouch's 1,100-word liner notes essay. Historically, All Rise was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and premiered at Lincoln Center in December 1999. Almost two years later, it was set to be performed at the Hollywood Bowl on September 14, 2001, by Wynton, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting, and three choirs totaling 100 voices. The events of 9/11 turned All Rise's performance and recording that week into a national elegy.

After the performance and recording in Los Angeles, the suspension of air travel forced Wynton and his LCJO crew into a bus for a 27-hour schlep to Seattle, for their next show. "Our concert was scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.," Wynton writes. "We entered the city limits at 7:00 p.m. Out on the stage we received an extended standing ovation from a sold-out house that had waited patiently to be, in the words on one patron, 'reminded of who we are.' The LCJO was back on the road. We heard that some acts chose to cancel their tours following September 11th. We chose, and still choose, to swing."

Jazzchill.blogspot.com -October 12, 2011

"The 2012 Columbia box set "Swinging into the 21st" collects all of trumpeter/bandleader Wynton Marsalis' ten albums released in 1999. An ambitious project approved by Columbia due to Marsalis' highly respected career and longstanding association with the label, Swinging into the 21st featured a mix of large- and small-group sessions in various cross-genre settings from classical and ballet to big band, all connected by the theme of jazz. In that sense, each album was a logical extension of Marsalis' career and musical inclinations up to that point and, as such, generally featured the more traditional New Orleans-based jazz approach he began to favor in the early '90s. This is true even when exploring such divergent musical entities as Thelonious Monk on Standard Time, Vol. 4: Marsalis Plays Monk and Jelly Roll Morton on Standard Time, Vol. 6: Mr. Jelly Lord. Also included here is The Marciac Suite, At the Octoroon Balls: String Quartet No.1, A Fiddler's Tale, Reeltime, Big Train, All Rise, and a single disc of selections from the box set Live at the Village Vanguard.

The best cuts from the Swinging series were the small-group sessions where Marsalis and his septet got to stretch out with longer solos and inspired group interplay, as on the rollicking New Orleans second-line number "Juba and a O'Brown Squaw" from Live at the Village Vanguard and "King Porter Stomp" from Mr. Jelly Lord. Also engaging are the slightly more modern tracks, including two roiling, cubist Thelonious Monk numbers, "Hackensack" and "Green Chimneys," which Marsalis worked up for Marsalis Plays Monk. While his small-group recordings are certainly a highlight here, Marsalis' extended large-ensemble pieces such as the bluesy "Loose Duck" from The Marciac Suite and the lyrical violin-led ballad "Morning Song" are superb orchestral jazz recordings that, as with all of Swinging into the 21st, showcase the urbane and always swinging mind of Marsalis."

Matt Collar -All Music Guide


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