Picks and Pans Review: Black Codes from the Underground

updated 01/20/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/20/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Wynton Marsalis

Marsalis' admirers could hardly have hoped for a more dramatic demonstration of his maturing talent than this exciting album, which has the aggressive, darkly fearsome beauty of a tiger. Marsalis' duets with his saxophonist brother, Branford, are especially penetrating, recalling at times the nervous energy and exploring spirit of such historic brass partnerships as those of Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, or Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, Marsalis allows his other sidemen plenty of exposure too, engaging in a wonderfully bluesy duet with bassist Charnett Moffett, for instance. Marsalis wrote all the pieces except one, and his own playing reflects a miraculous blend of technique and emotion. This LP not only sounds terrific; it feels terrific. (Columbia)

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