Marsalis Heats Up

With Black Codes

By Eric Snider

Black Codes (From the Underground)


(Columbia )

While it's an unabashed emulation of Miles Davis' '60s quintet, Black Codes is in many ways Wynton Marsalis' most honest and authentic album. This is the sound of a gifted 23-year-old trumpeter and his band (including brother/saxophonist Branford) playing music that comes naturally to them. The album is full of vigorous swing, shifting, angular tunes and feisty improvisation driven by the band's youth. While the music may look backward, it has none of the self-righteous and pompous traditionalism that would mark Marsalis' later, more ambitious, projects. He and his band are simply burnin'.

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