Wynton Marsalis – Live at the Walt Disney Theater

Live at the Walt Disney Theater
Wynton Marsalis
(Boston – October 30, 2006)
by Matthew Robinson

Striding out unannounced to cheers and applause, Wynton Marsalis tipped his horn to all corners of the cornerless hall and then blew right into the fiery runs, easy rhythms, and other varied sounds of “Magic Hour,” an extended exploration of the many moods we all go through just before sleep. During this dreamy excursion, Marsalis was supported by the fluttery flicks of pianist Dan Nimmer, the St Louis sax of Walter Blanding and the tricky trap work and beefy bass of Ali Jackson and Carlos Enriquez. The sounds were as colorful as the plush seats that surrounded the stage and went off in ans many curvilinear directions as the hall itself, swirling into echoey revereberations that at times caught up with themselves in a brassy weave.

After this instrumental introduction, Marsalis introduced vocalist Jennifer Sanon who offered her takes on such clasics as a bass-led chat through “Comes Love” and a syncopated blur of “Them There Eyes” that mellowed and cleared after her impressive backing band had taken their solos. Taking her temporary leave, Sanon left Marsalis and the boys to their own devices for the appropriately-entitled “Doin’ Our Thing,” a freewheeling scenario of snappy three-part rhythms flanked by patient horns who eventually entered with their own two-part head-bobbing harmonies. After Sannon offered the spare and seductively smooth (though occasionally awkward) original number “It’s Time for the Return of Romance,” the band close with the hot and fiery “Sparks are Flying Everywhere” – a showcase for the inventive Ali who snapped all over his set as Marsalis bit back with blaring horn lines and self-impressing swings.

After a long ovation, proud poppa wynton brought “the young people” back for the two-speed harmonic hamster wheel “Supercapitalism,” a fun and frightening look at contemporary consumption that left the audience with the thought that “there’s never enough.” In this contemporary musical cathedral of brushed steel and rare woods, it was hard to argue with such a claim, but Marsalis’ set more than satisfied. ©2006 M. S. Robinson, ARR