Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Protest! Wynton's anger not perfectly articulated

Tom Hull hits the nail on the head with his review of Wynton Marsalis' From The Plantation To The Penitentiary (scroll down, it's the second to last review). While other reviewers have seemed impressed with Marsalis' "protest" record for the simple reason that it is political, as if that is a positive in and of itself, I protest: politics in music, like ALL themes, can be both bad or good (and everything in between). In my oppinion, Marsalis' attempt here falls short of good. Although a sentiment like "I ain't your bitch and I ain't your ho" is easy to agree with, it sounds unconvincing and, as Mr. Hull says, akward here.

I disagree with Matthew Rogers opinion that "Marsalis’ traditionalism here seems apt and entirely the right medium for the message". Although the music ain't half bad, for the most part it lacks the grit to convice me that Marsalis is as upset as the title and the flawed lyrics suggests. The only thing he does convince me of, is that he still feels that the music was better back in the day. We've heard that statement from Marsalis before.

(I've written a piece on a Norwegian review here).

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