Wynton Marsalis: Black Codes
Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)
Black Codes (From the Underground) (Columbia)
Composed by Wynton Marsalis.
Recorded: January 1985
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
Say what you want about Wynton Marsalis the person but Wynton Marsalis the trumpeter, especially during the 1980s, played with an assurance that I've hardly ever heard from any player since. On his 1985 album Black Codes (From the Underground), Marsalis was still playing with brother Branford and Jeff "Tain" before they left to join Sting's band and the energy level is high as ever on the title track. Opening with sharp hits from the master Kenny Kirkland, the band evokes the sounds of old with great swing. I really like how Tain brings the band back and forth between hip-hop groove and swing. The melody is also interesting on this song, it's very angular and disjointed but also pleasurable on the ear.
Wynton plays a rivoting solo, full of squeaks and wonderful nuance. The most driving part of this band was always the thunderous power of Jeff "Tain" Watts, who could make anyone sound good. This track is a strong testament to the legacy of Wynton's music. Even though he manages to drive a lot of people crazy, I think we should focus on the music and then we might have less to say about him as a person. A great track from one of the most celebrated quintets of the last forty years. Cheers!
Reviewer: Jared Pauley