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Wynton Marsalis: Reeltime

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Part of the modest flood of Wynton Marsalis product under the rubric of the “Swinging into the 21st Century” series, Reeltime is an intriguing curio pulled up from the vaults. The prolific Marsalis’ workload as a film composer has been slim so far, but he did score John Singleton’s affecting historical tract on racism, Rosewood. Any film composer knows the reality of discarded materials and sometimes entire discarded scores (i.e., Alex North’s original score for 2001: A Space Odyssey), but Marsalis has chosen to rescue his music from oblivion. This album consists of leftover tracks from the Rosewood score, stitched together into a new shape, and one that only vaguely relates to jazz, per se. Surprise, surprise: the reassembled musical fabric holds together in a strange way. Over the course of 21 (count ’em) tracks, the album has the rambling, divergent feel of a sampler, a loose, piecemeal essay on rural Americana in musical form. Cassandra Wilson coos soulfully, Mark O’Connor offers his fluent Appalachiana and Marcus Roberts strides lazily, with laconic horn textures in the cracks. The music has the wan, distracted atmosphere of film music-which must necessarily bow to the image and avoid the inherent self-absorption of jazz invention-but this is an inviting, if peripheral, addition to the Marsalis oeuvre.