Wynton Marsalis: Stardust




Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)


Live at the Village Vanguard (Columbia 69876)

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Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Eric Reed (piano), Ben Wolfe (bass), Herlin Riley (drums).

Composed by Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish


Recorded: Village Vanguard, New York, December 2-4, 1994


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

This much beloved jazz standard has its own deeply ingrained personality, and you tinker with it at your own risk. The verse is as interesting as the main theme, and the whole melody is so well written, it could stand comparison with the finer classical art songs. In other words, you just can't blow on these changes like they were "Blue Moon." Marsalis understands this implicitly, and he lets the mood of the piece inform his solo. His tempo is just a tad faster than your typical ballad, the pace of a lazy stroll. Wynton plays sly cat-and-mouse games with Hoagy Carmichael's melody, hinting at it at some moments, while elsewhere coming up with something novel that still reminds us of the distinctive intervallic leaps of the original. Even when the trumpeter tosses off some high notes that swing triumphantly like the man on the flying trapeze, they still flow naturally from the emotional temperament of the song. This is a very mature performance by the artist, who was 33 at the time of this Village Vanguard session, but played like a seasoned veteran.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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