Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wynton Marsalis - J Mood (1986)


Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by a CD.

While I still consider myself a Wynton fan, I prefer this post-bop music from the earlier part of his career. For this album, Marsalis pares down his quintet to a quartet. While I miss brother Branford's saxophone work, the addition of pianist Marcus "J Master" Roberts serves the band well. It can't be easy to replace Kenny Kirkland; both Kirkland and Branford Marsalis left Wynton's band to record and tour with Sting then ended up as Jay Leno's band when he took over the Tonight Show (the first time). The rhythm section on this release is very good. My only complaint would be that drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts sometimes gets too enthusiastic and his "over-drumming" becomes a distraction. Drummers. Whacha gonna do? [shrug] After this release, Marsalis went in other directions (band music, standards, 20th century chamber music). However, Marcus Roberts kept making this same sort of music as evidenced by his 1989 release, The Truth Is Spoken Here (to be reviewed later on this blog), which sounds much like J Mood.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #185 (Nov 8, 1986)

Tracks: While the other 3 tracks never get skipped, my favorites on this disc include the title track, the ballads Presence That Lament Brings and Melõdiqúe, and the swinging Much Later.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I remember listening to this LP over and over in my dorm room on the upper floor of Berry Hall. As a college sophomore, I realized that I needed a better understanding of jazz music, so I would put this on even though, at times, I would have preferred listening to the latest New Wave record. The effort paid off and led me to go back and listen to much more jazz from the '50s and '60s. Still, 25 years later, I think I need a better understanding of jazz music.

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