Rebecca*rhapsodyinblue* | CA USA | 05/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The wonder of this recording, however, is that we hear such informed boldness from the leader and his players. Only extremely sophisticated musicians could make such complex arrangements swing so authoritatively (e.g., "The Song Is You"), then play with the time so effectively, creating and resolving tensions with an often stunning capacity for grace. The protean accuracy of the adjustments to one another and to the forms of the tunes makes it rather obvious that this is one of the best jazz groups now working. Yes, Marsalis has found himself some extremely talented players." ~ Stanley Crouch ~
Stanley Crouch has perfectly described what makes this album one of the best in jazz recordings. Wynton Marsalis is one of the gifted trumpet players in the jazz scene of today, whose expertise not only encompasses ballads, but also swing and blues numbers. Coming from a family of musicians, his outstanding and creative trumpet artistry is not surprising at all. His father being Ellis Marsalis, a fine pianist who was once a mentor to Harry Connick Jr., who named him as the greatest influence on his creative piano playing. And not to mention his brother, Branford Marsalis, who is also a musician with the saxophone as his master instrument.
"Standard Time, Volume 1" is the first of six volumes focusing on the best standards ever created from the Great American Songbook. It features the Wynton Marsalis Quartet - himself on trumpet, Marcus Roberts on piano, Robert Hurst III on bass and Jeffrey "Tain" Watts on drums. They tackle a dozen of tunes with some kind of exploration and inventiveness that show their respective talents to the fullest, but staying true to the melodies.
The entire album is such an enjoyable listen from the sophisticated groove of Duke Ellington's "Caravan" to the exuberance of Ray Noble's "Cherokee," there isn't any tune that is uninspiring, but I'm more impressed with the ones that resonate with me, tunes that are affectingly beautiful such as a reflective rendition of Eubie Blake's "Memories of You" (I love Marcus Roberts' lyrical piano playing), swinging Jerome Kern's "The Song Is You" and tear-inducing Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye."
This is my first taste of Wynton Marsalis' artistry and as a result, I have added him to my list of the finest musicians who ever graced the world of jazz. A million thanks to an Amazon friend, Brian Fitzpatrick's compelling review...so deserving of a Spotlight treatment. Now I have also added Standard Time, Vol.3: The Resolution Of Romance and Standards & Ballads to my collection. Both are also five-star-materials. I look forward to collecting the rest of the Standards series.
With my heartfelt recommendation for your listening pleasure. Happy Listening!
* * * * * TEN STARS * * * * *"