Jazz is a very interesting musical genre where a single word can encompass such a wide array of related, but different sounds. More modern Jazz, like this Wynton Marsalis album, takes cues from the past and builds on those notes. Most of my Jazz ear comes from the era between 1955 and 1970. Anything older seems like it’s early steps in the sound while the artists figure it out. Later than 1970, and especially 1980, the more experimental things get.
This album was released in the early 80s and is very much early contemporary Jazz with what is also known as the modal sound, which is complicated but intellectually and sonically stimulating. It is, however, not really my bag, so when I put this one on and listened to Side A for the first time, I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting in to. I did appreciate, as it happens, one of the two tracks not written by Wynton himself but by the legendary bass player Ron Carter. It’s a very rapid double-time jaunt that feels very much like a bass player wrote it. I found a lot to like on that track.