Picks and Pans Review: Haydn/hummel/l. Mozart: Trumpet Concertos
updated 08/22/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 08/22/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
It's not supposed to be possible for one person to be in two places at the same time, but apparently no one told Wynton Marsalis. These simultaneous releases find him playing jazz with his quintet and playing classical trumpet concertos with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Actually, working both sides of the musical fence is nothing new for the 21-year-old whiz kid from New Orleans. He soloed with the New Orleans Philharmonic at 14 and was named Outstanding Brass Player at Tanglewood three years later. With the three (circa 1800) concertos, he evinces a glowing, rounded tone, technical precision and a finely developed sense of flow and shading. It's an extraordinary performance by any yardstick. For all that, Marsalis obviously has his roots in jazz. He can do everything that has ever been done in jazz with a trumpet, and then some. He can growl like the old Ellington sidemen, flare and stab like the Freddie Hubbard of the '60s, or ruminate like Miles. And he can do his own things: swoop and slide through the range of the horn, neighing and braying like a quadruped—or at the very least a trombone. Think of One suggests Marsalis is beginning to incorporate that formidable technique into an expressive style. But too many of his ideas call attention to themselves without advancing any sense of story or emotion. His self-absorption and aloofness can be off-putting, too. These problems may well right themselves, though. A talent his size needs time to ripen.