He has developed his career according to his interests, and they have taken him in many directions at once. Marsalis's career. In , he had been famous for seven years and had just released ''Live at Blues Alley,'' the best example yet of his band's athletic style. But he decided it was time for a change. Instead of just extending the current lingua franca of small-group jazz, he said that he wanted his music to reflect himself, and to connect with his ideas about society, art and history.
The first result was ''The Majesty of the Blues,'' a complex reclamation of the genre by someone who had previously considered it simple, debased, unchallenging. That year Mr. Marsalis also began working with Lincoln Center, developing concert programming framed around the great jazz musicians of history. And he began recording along discrete themes; nearly everything he made thereafter was a sort of concept album.
Starting from ''The Majesty of the Blues,'' the philosophical underpinning of his music expanded by degrees, through the oratorio ''Blood on the Fields,'' from It culminated in ''All Rise,'' a symphonic piece for jazz band and orchestra, which was first performed in and was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Kurt Masur as a statement on the end of the millennium.
Both were long works with epic themes: the first addressed slavery in America, and the second addressed the interconnectedness of music from around the world as a metaphor for integration. Both had many parts, and amid stretches of strong arrangements there were serious longueurs, patches of creaky lyric writing and a general feeling of bloat.
While much modern jazz seems designed for academic fulfillment or intellectual provocation, Time to Swing is a punch to the gut, to the feel-good sector of your musical cerebellum, to your heart.
Joined by an experienced trio of players firing at the top of their collective games—trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, pianist Kenny Barron, and bassist Peter Washington—Farnsworth turns the fourth album of his career into a state-of-the-art outing. No, this is an album of subtle beauties, of perfectly measured time feels, of a swing pulse recalling everyone from Ellington and Sonny Clark to Basie and Benny Goodman, music that defies a timestamp.
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