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Wynton Marsalis : Swinging Into the 21st

If we call an artist who averages an album per year prolific, what then to say about Wynton Marsalis’ output of 1999-2000? During that period Marsalis released nine albums, each showcasing a different sector within his domain. Marsalis called the series Swinging Into the 21st, and that run of albums has now been compiled into an 11-disc box set that also includes All Rise, Marsalis’ monumental 2002 orchestral/vocal project.

Ambitious? Undeniably. Ego stroke? Marsalis has been accused of that. But the music speaks for itself: Each album, though they vary wildly in scope and scale, is a worthy addition to Marsalis’ canon. Grouped together as they have now been, the recordings that comprise Swinging Into the 21st reinforce the notion that Wynton Marsalis-while perhaps not an artist who purposefully pushes jazz into the future-has long been one of the genre’s most respectable and intrepid contemporary composers and performers.

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