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Thread: Wynton Marsalis' "Violin Concerto", not impressed...

  1. #1

    Wynton Marsalis' "Violin Concerto", not impressed...

    To say the least.

    In fact, it's a bit of a train wreck, IMO.

    It sounds like a pastiche of Copland and Gershwin.

    I can't help thinking, that if anyone else, without the celebrity and notoriety of Marsalis, composed and released this, it would quickly fade into obscurity.

    But not only am I not impressed, this actually angers me.

    There are so many great, creative composers actually adding to this living, evolving art form, that will remain in relative obscurity.

    Magnus Lindberg, Jennifer Higdon, Thomas Ades, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Joseph Schwantner, Augusta Read Thomas and so many others, will sell a fraction of all their recordings combined, of what this one Marsalis recording will sell.



    Last edited by simon moon; 1 Week Ago at 05:42 PM.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  2. #2
    I have always found Marsalis to be technically gifted but generally soulless in his music. He is essentially a reactionary, IMO.
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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana5140 View Post
    He is essentially a reactionary, IMO.
    Wynton was raised to believe -- as he has stated many many times in interviews -- that nothing good has come out of music since the 1940s. With such a blinkered worldview, his music has always been pastiches, sometimes to the point of parody.

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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Perhaps he should stick to what he knows and write a trumpet concerto.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    He is quick with an opinion and seems to be the "go to" talking head when discussing the state of jazz or even music in general.

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    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I met him when I was a bellman at the Delta Hotel in Ottawa about 30 years ago. Very friendly and cordial. Checked him out of the hotel.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    The Marsalis brothers musical efforts are somewhat technically impressive, but they sound like they never take any chances, and thats imo not really what jazz is about.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    The Marsalis brothers musical efforts are somewhat technically impressive, but they sound like they never take any chances, and thats imo not really what jazz is about.
    Hah! - good point. In their (although I think Wynton is more guilty of this than Branford) attempts to (re-)kindle the authentic spirit of jazz, they have actually performed in more or less direct contradiction with that spirit.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    Perhaps he should stick to what he knows and write a trumpet concerto.

    I have zero confidence that would be any better.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

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    Member frinspar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    The Marsalis brothers musical efforts are somewhat technically impressive, but they sound like they never take any chances, and thats imo not really what jazz is about.
    I still enjoy several cuts off of the Buckshot LeFonque album, but I agree, it also wasn't groundbreaking.

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    I listened through this (the link above, plus the other 3 parts). It’s funny that I’m more inclined to pursue some music that is pronounced as disappointing, as opposed to what is lavishly praised. I’m reminded that the main reason I visit this site is to be made aware of music that I wouldn’t otherwise hear. That said, thanks for posting.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulse View Post
    I listened through this (the link above, plus the other 3 parts). It’s funny that I’m more inclined to pursue some music that is pronounced as disappointing, as opposed to what is lavishly praised. I’m reminded that the main reason I visit this site is to be made aware of music that I wouldn’t otherwise hear. That said, thanks for posting.
    I enjoy coming to PE in order to strike items off my "to investigate" list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    I enjoy coming to PE in order to strike items off my "to investigate" list.
    Yes, and time constraints being a major factor, maintaining such a list would be expedient compared to my oblique approach to selecting music to investigate. But, for mysterious reasons, I’m wired to navigate in a ‘haphazard’ fashion.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulse View Post
    Yes, and time constraints being a major factor, maintaining such a list would be expedient compared to my oblique approach to selecting music to investigate.
    I still tell myself -- in my worst moments of self-delusion -- that some day I will finish "collecting" when I have everything I'll ever need.

  16. #16
    I agree with the "soulless" aspect of Wynton Marsalis' playing. He's a technician but I don't hear any emotion out of him. Maybe anger. Maybe contempt. I was done with him after his dismissal of Bill Evans (pianist). Frankly, Evans' music makes me cry while Marsalis' music makes me cry for the wrong reasons.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  17. #17
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    To say the least.

    In fact, it's a bit of a train wreck, IMO.

    It sounds like a pastiche of Copland and Gershwin.

    I can't help thinking, that if anyone else, without the celebrity and notoriety of Marsalis, composed and released this, it would quickly fade into obscurity.

    But not only am I not impressed, this actually angers me.

    There are so many great, creative composers actually adding to this living, evolving art form, that will remain in relative obscurity.

    Magnus Lindberg, Jennifer Higdon, Thomas Ades, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Joseph Schwantner, Augusta Read Thomas and so many others, will sell a fraction of all their recordings combined, of what this one Marsalis recording will sell.



    Thanks for the Thread! Having seen him in concert 3 or 4 times I do lean towards the assessment of the man as technically-skilled, highly educated (theory and history), but conspicuously devoid of passion and soul. His concerts often feel like lectures.

    As far as this composition, I don't really see any Copeland influence at all. I don't think it has any significant Gershwin feel either but did hear a few intervals or orchestration devices that made me understand why you might think that.

    I thought that the introspective part from the 9 minute mark to 11:30 is stunningly gorgeous. There is some lovely orchestration that accompanies the violin (excellent use of the harp). But the rest of it seemed to lack cohesiveness; I couldn't really sense any obvious reason for what comes before that lovely part. And the ending is odd in the way it peters out.

    But most of all I found the reoccurring whistle was very annoying. Quite...bizarre.

  18. #18
    He is no fan of modern jazz post mid-60s, fusion, and he hates rap and hip hop (http://myspiltmilk.com/wynton-marsal...op-controversy) with a passion.

    From a reddit:
    Going into the project Burns had a limited knowledge of Jazz, which he seemed to consider a plus - the viewer would share in his exploration of the subject. But:

    Burns suffocates the jazz tradition in his superlatives. He deadens everything with his wonder. He has come to be ravished. A helpless hero-worshiper, his success threatens to make hero worship into a respectable historical standpoint. It is easy to see why Burns flourishes in this culture of worthless admiration. He is really just a fan: Bob Costas with an NEA grant.

    And the guys he hooked up with as guides, Wynton Marsalis and critic Stanley Crouch and their grumpy guru Albert Murray, are people with some serious agendas and axes to grind. They have exclusionary and myopic ideas about what is valuable and authentic in Jazz, and are dismissive of everything else. The roles of European music influence, white musicians, fusion and particularly the avant-garde are marginalized, ignored or rejected.

    An example that I found especially maddening - Burns veers from his fanboy reverence for a harsh dismissal of Cecil Taylor, and by extension difficult experimental music in general, in an exchange with Branford Marsalis, deep thinker of Tonight Show and Buckshot LeFonque fame. Burns sets him up thusly - "Do you think the audience likes to be educated? I know Cecil Taylor has said, 'I prepare for my next concerts. The audience has to prepare.' " To which Marsalis responds - "That’s total self-indulgent bullshit as far as I’m concerned. I mean, you know, I love baseball. I mean, I’m not going to go and catch a hundred grounders before I go to a game. I mean, that’s what… we pay to see them do what they do and to appreciate them. I mean, why would the audience sit around and practice and prepare? I mean, they pay their money to hear what it is that we do and to appreciate what it is that we do." Well, I mean, nobody said you have to learn how to play piano before going to see Cecil. But if you want to get anything out of it, you should be prepared to pay attention. You don't go to a ball game with zero understanding of the rules of baseball and then angrily complain that it's worthless and doesn't make any sense - that would be "total self-indulgent bullshit".
    Last edited by Dana5140; 5 Days Ago at 07:45 PM.
    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  19. #19
    I can take some Branford, but Wynton is another story. I have read so many derogatory statements from him about others who don't look like him, play like him, or think like him that I just don't go there anymore. More to the point his music doesn't do anything for me even for a dollar, in the cutout bin.

  20. #20
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    My fav thing Wynton has ever done is Black Codes (from 1985 I think). An amazing jazz album. They really channel Miles second great quintet on this album, yet it has its own thing for sure.

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  21. #21
    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    ^^^
    I bought that one back then when it was first released. The follow up album J Mood is a another good one. I lost track after that. There was so much other great stuff going on at the time.

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