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Traditionalist no more

Citi Movement (Griot New York)
Citi Movement (Griot New York)
By Wynton Marsalis

Sony Music: 1993

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This review first appeared in the February 19, 1993 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

With this one shimmering, multi-layered stroke of his aural brush, Wynton Marsalis has rewritten his reputation as a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist.

"Citi Movement" is a work of such staggering vision and realized ambition that trying to describe it with the written word is simply useless. Heaping superlative upon superlative will still fail to capture the impact this two-CD recording has upon the listener.

"Citi Movement," written in collaboration with the Garth Fagan Dancers, is a musical onomatopoeia, capturing the sounds, flavors and sights that define New York City. In the same vein as Ellington's "Harlem Air Shaft" and Mingus' "New York Sketchbook," "Citi Movement" uses instrumental sound effects coupled to a jazz structure to create an orchestral representation of the soul that is contemporary New York.

If Wynton Marsalis has been one of the best trumpeters in jazz and classical music for the past decade, with "Citi Movement" he has become one of our bravest jazz innovators, an original-thinking leader for our generation.

If past Marsalis recordings have proven his interpretive abilities beyond doubt in covering all that has gone before, "Citi Movement" steps forward into the unknown and offers us a slice of Wynton Marsalis himself.