Wynton Marsalis: Chambers of Tain


Chambers of Tain


Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)


Black Codes (From the Underground) (Columbia CK 40009)

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Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Branford Marsalis (tenor sax), Kenny Kirkland (piano), Charnett Moffett (bass), Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums).

Composed by Kenny Kirkland


Recorded: RCA Studio, New York, January 7-11, 14, 1985


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

My CD copy of this release does not provide any composer information, or list the musicians, or even tell you the state or country where the music was recorded. (Although it does note the microphones employed: Neuman: U-67, KM-84, T170i; AKG: 414EB-P48, 451.) But you can't keep a band this good a secret, no matter how hard the folks at Sony / Columbia work to hide their light under a bushel. When these unknown musicians first released the mystery track on the Black Codes (From the Underground) LP, back in the mid-1980s, a host of cryptographers worked to decipher the discographical information from a cypher supposedly hidden in Stanley Crouch's liner notes. But seasoned jazz fans didn't need to break the Black Code—they just listened to this sizzling hot performance for a few seconds before bowing in deference to Wynton Marsalis, his brother Branford, and the stellar rhythm section of Kenny Kirkland, Jeff 'Tain' Watts and Charnett Moffett. In all honesty, this record shook people up when it first came out, and still amazes today. Wynton puts it all together in his solo—great ideas, peerless virtuosity, hard-edged swing. And the whole band clicks, both on the labyrinthine head and during the fast-paced modally-oriented solos. A classic performance from the mid-1980s.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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