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Wynton Marsalis

The Midnight Blues — Standard Time Volume 5

  • Columbia

This moody, ambitious album finds Marsalis reaching new musical heights — and lows. On tracks like “The Party's Over” and “I Got Lost in Her Arms,” the veteran jazz trumpeter creates lyrical yet complicated solos, nicely complementing his talented rhythm section. Eric Reed on piano, Lewis Nash on drums and Reginald Veal provide sterling support and musicianship throughout. On the downside, the strings tend to get in the way, muddling the quartet's musical intentions. Further, Marsalis makes a habit of blowing incessantly throughout some tracks, suffocating the listener and hindering the quartet's unity. But, admirably, Marsalis seems to be striving for something new here; if one can take the hits with the misses, The Midnight Blues is worth the purchase.

J. Andrew Todd