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  • Black Codes (From The Underground) [VINYL]
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Black Codes (From The Underground) [VINYL]

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Wynton Marsalis stands in a league all his own. He has been described as a creative genius, compassionate humanitarian, legendary trumpeter, masterful composer, arts advocate, tireless educator and cultural leader.

However, it is Wynton’s lifetime commitment to inspiring and uplifting people though artistic excellence in jazz that has made an unparalleled impact on domestic and ... Read more in Amazon's Wynton Marsalis Store

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Product details

  • Vinyl (15 Sept. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: IMPORT
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,423 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Black Codes 9:31
2. For Wee Folks 9:06
3. Delfeayo s Dilemma 6:46
4. Phryzzinian Man 6:44
5. Aural Oasis 5:35
6. Chambers of Tain (Kirkland) 7:38
7. Blues 5:21

Product Description

One of the hardest swinging and best-loved of his 1980s recordings wraps listeners in the astonishing group sound that defined Wynton Marsalis. Firey performances by the players jazz writers dubbed "The Young Lions": saxophonist Branford Marsalis, the "Doctone" – pianist Kenny Kirkland, the "Net Man" – bassist Charnett Moffett, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts and of course Wynton himself on trumpet. The 1985 Grammy award winner for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group and Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist has been remastered from the original analog tapes by Bernie Grundman Studios and is pressed on 180 gram audiophile-grade vinyl at Pallas Group in Germany courtesy of ORG Music. The release is limited to 2,000 units, and each jacket is numbered with a gold foil stamp. "Beyond the impressive skill exhibited in the odd structures of the writing, there are improvisations of such conscious order, fire, and rhythmic fluidity that the combination of individuality and continuity gives each piece the feeling of a whole because each musician so decidedly uses what has been played before him as he makes his own statement, the compositions never stop and are always more than strings of so-called solos. Above it all, however, is the swing and the lyricism. "The leader has never played this well on record. There is the clarion melancholy of his superbly controlled work on the title tune, the breezy relaxation of "Delfeayo's Dilemma," the puckish snarls of "Phryzzinian Man," the raw force and structure of "Chambers of Tain," and the sublime flutters of his ballads. Branford Marsalis, like his brother, has absorbed many ways of swinging, from shifting molten rhythms to the way he sweeps Lester Young's coolness and detached elegance into contemporary harmony on "Phryzzinian Man," moving from a superb variation on the brief interlude that introduces him into a creation that is absolutely melodic. "Kenny Kirkland not only accompanies each horn with different colors, attacks, rhythms, and meters, but proves that there is no pianist under 40 in jazz who can swing harder, invent with more linear control, or execute such supple rhythms. Seventeen-year-old Charnett Moffett is shocking in his swing and his sound, never losing his place as Kirkland and Watts reorder the accents and superimpose other time signatures. Ron Carter, as usual, does an impeccable job in reinterpreting and developing the thematic structures and harmonic ideas presented in "Aural Oasis." "Then there is Tain ("What's Your Name?" "Puddin' and Tain, ask me again and I'll tell you the same."): probably the dean of the younger drummers, as the ballads show, he is already a master of cymbal timbre, and the swing he pulls off by periodically accenting his sock cymbal on the second half of two and four or effortlessly adjusting when other meters are introduced, prove him a man of remarkable instincts and attentiveness to detail. Most importantly, his playing is in the tradition of the hot heart of polyrhythm Elvin Jones perfected.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mirek on 9 Jun. 2014
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
The performance and technical quality of the recording are excellent. If You like Winton Marsalis I command this vinyl. You will not regret.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 25 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Wynton's most important single album set 27 July 2005
By J-Rock - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Wynton Marsalis is so heavily documented and so heavily opinionated these days that it's difficult to assess his work fairly. For everyone who thinks he single-handedly saved acoustic jazz in the 80s, another will say he is killing its creativity and radical spirit in the 2000s. Certainly I've wavered on this issue over time. Whatever your opinion on Wynton, Black Codes is the strongest of his early albums, before he took to preserving the jazz tradition. More than any of the other albums Black Codes strives to advance it.

The band on here is great. This was before Branford left to join Sting and the heads to the tunes are tight. Jeff Watts is a phenomenal drummer and Wynton shares the spotlight by using "Chambers of Tain" as a drum feature. Kenny Kirkland drives many of the vamps on this album and comps assertively and the bass player strongly anchors these tunes as well.

This album plays well start to finish and has some of Wynton's strongest writing. "Black Codes" with its low end piano as part of the head, "For Wee Folks" with its out of tempo opening and "Delfeayo's Dilemma", a tune that has been covered by artists like Kenny Garrett, are highlights in the set. Wynton nods to the tradiiton by concluding with a blues as well.

The innovations on this album are subtle. It's more a summary of two splendid jazz ensembles: the tight ensembles of the Jazz Messengers that Branford and Wynton played with early in their careers and the thorny modal improvisations of the Miles Davis Quintet. Some people focus only on Miles when assessing this album, but if you listen to Jazz Messengers albums like Mosaic and Free For All you hear how the discipline of this music and the vigor of Tain's playing are more assertive than the cool effortlessness of Miles' group.

I don't listen to all of Wynton's stuff so much now but I've enjoyed this album and I strongly recommend it as a high point of jazz in the decade of the '80s.

--5 stars

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Exciting and Original 10 Dec. 2000
By Kenneth James Michael MacLean - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album on vinyl when it first came out, then bought the CD and have been listening to it regularly for 15 years. It is the finest recording Wynton has ever done and this music will stand the test of time. I am a piano fan and Kenny Kirkland's playing on this session is phenomenal. Everyone is in fine form and the music is original, the playing is fresh and passionate. Every track is great listening. This is a CD to play over and over and enjoy over and over again. I agree with the rest of the reviewers about the critic's -- most of these "critics" don't know much about jazz and to compare this group with Miles Davis is a joke -- this is original music and it stands on it's own quite nicely!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
As a newbie it is incredible 18 Nov. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is my first real jazz album. I'm listening to it right now and Tain is tearing it up and Marsalis is on fire. I don't think I know enough about the genre to be critical, but what I can tell you is this Album can bring you to tears. It gets you right in the gut and makes your heart beat and it tears into you. Almost a religious experience. I'm hooked. Favorite track: Chambers of Tain
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
solid! 22 May 2000
By Christopher Jones - Published on
Format: Audio CD
There's something funny about this album. Well, not the album, per se, but the critical reception of said album. Ever notice how whenever cats talk about this album or review it, they always name-drop Miles second quintet? (the one with Shorter, Hancock, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter) I've got a question for y'all: WHY? aside from a few ostensible similarities to the Davis quintet, how is this music like the stuff Miles was doing back in the pre-fusion 60s? I mean, if you're gonna compare these groups, back it up with something! I'm not saying there aren't some similarities, but cats who review Black Codes *always* name-drop Miles' quintet without ever digging into the music. That said, this is a superb recording--probably my favorite in Wynton's discography. The rhythm section is sickeneningly tight, and the two Marsalises play beautifully. I like most of Wynton's stuff, but this might just be one of the best jazz recordings of the 80s...heck, the 90s too. If you don't have this, then RUN (don't walk) to your nearest record store and pick it up.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Not JUST Solid 12 April 2005
By A-Ron - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Honestly, even if this was a complete rip off of Miles' work, which it clearly isn't, the group is stunning enough. I mean, Joe Henderson made a TRIBUTE ALBUM to Miles and it also won two grammys (and pretty much deserved them), and no one gave him any problems. No one will doubt that this quintet with Branford, Wynton, Kenny Kirkland, Tain Watts, and Moffet, was one of the best of the 1980s, and this album, as I and most others contend, this is probably their definitive album. Yet, I don't think really think this was a homage album to Miles Davis. If it was, Wynton probably would have brought direct attention to it. Clearly, Wynton's trumpet playing is definitely influenced by Miles 1960s work, but not solely. Yet other than that, I really don't any real obvious similarities between 65-68 Miles Quintet and this work, and trust me, I know Miles' work from that period very well. Really, the only copying going on related to "Black Codes From the Underground" was by critics who didn't know any better than to call the album an advance in Miles' music if they liked Wynton, or to call it a rip off of Miles if they didn't like him. I think a lot of these critics were either jaded by the extremely rapid acoustic jazz revival of the 1980s, or just didn't know much about the musical details of jazz and made a swift, dumb assumption according to other critics' views. Trust me, this should be one of, if not your first Wynton album. It is a group of great improvisers and complete musicians at their tightest, and at least for me, evokes a great amount of emotion. Also, despite what some say, this is a highly creative effort.
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