Wynton Marsalis: King Porter Stomp


King Porter Stomp


Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)


Mr. Jelly Lord - Standard Time Vol. 6 (Columbia 69872)

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Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Eric Lewis (piano).

Composed by Jelly Roll Morton


Recorded: New York, January 12-13, 1999


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

This track—and this entire CD—deserve to be far better known. But Wynton has recorded prolifically, and by the time he delivered this end-of-the-millennium tribute to Jelly Roll Morton, the idea of "Marsalis does New Orleans" was old hat and few were paying close attention. Yet this music makes my short list of the best traditional jazz performances of the modern era.

In 1924, Jelly Roll Morton teamed up with King Oliver for a duet performance of this same song. Can any duo today surpass the "inventors" of New Orleans jazz at "King Porter Stomp"? Ah, Marsalis and Lewis do just that. Both are absolutely true to the inner meaning and spirit of Morton's classic tune, yet also are absolutely true to themselves—not an easy combination given the tendency to treat these old New Orleans songs like venerable relics from a golden age. You hear this and you can't help concluding that the golden age is right now, when an artist of this statue can take on the mantle of past masters and bring their music so vividly to life.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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