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Blood on the Fields [Import]

Wynton Marsalis & the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra Audio CD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

Disc: 1
1. Calling The Indians Out
2. Move Over
3. You Don't Hear No Drums
4. The Market Place
5. Soul For Sale
6. Plantation Coffle March
See all 7 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Lady's Lament
2. Flying High
3. Oh We Have A Friend In Jesus
4. God Don't Like Ugly
5. Juba And A O'Brown Squaw
6. Follow The Drinking Gourd
See all 10 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. I Hold Out My Hand
2. Look And See
3. The Sun Is Gonna Shine
4. Will The Sun Come Out?
5. The Sun Is Gonna Shine
6. Chant To Call The Indians Out
See all 10 tracks on this disc

Product Description


Just as Charles Mingus owed a great debt to Duke Ellington, Blood on the Fields makes clear how much Wynton Marsalis owes to Mingus. Marsalis won the Pulitzer Prize for Blood in 1997, decades after Ellington should've won for any of two or three suite-length works, and it's clear this piece was worth it. The blats and instrumental slurs that ricochet into melodies are certainly Ellingtonian, but only when you consider that Mingus revised them with vigorous energy. Further, the spoken-word passages, taken by the ensemble, hearken to Mingus's "Freedom," extending the vaunted trumpeter's list of influences. The story line to Blood is simple: two Africans are stolen and enslaved; the man falls in love with the woman; and when they reach freedom, their love has a chance to flourish. The tunes are richly orchestrated, with 15 players on the ensemble's roster. Marsalis does astonishingly good things with the charts, making his group sound like a firm creative vehicle. Saxophonists James Carter and Robert Stewart provide nuanced solos behind vocalists Cassandra Wilson and Miles Griffith, adding improvisational elements that help raise the ante on this program. As a soloist, Marsalis doesn't make huge contributions, but his ample, clarity-laden tone is as ringing here as anywhere in his catalog. --Andrew Bartlett

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent piece of work Dec 19 2000
Format:Audio CD
This gripping 3-CD masterpiece is perhaps Wynton Marsalis's most stunning album to date. Not only is the execution of the music top notch, but the themes of the songs themselves do a superb job of capturing the very element that was the impetus behind these compositions. For example, it can sometimes be difficult to sit through "Forty Lashes" because Herlin Riley's drumwork is that powerful.
"Blood on the Fields" has a little bit of everything crammed into it. There are blues, ballads, high octane bop, and even dirges. The first two discs are especially strong. Cassandra Wilson, John Hendricks, and Miles Griffin sing passionately. Perhaps the strongest pieces are "You Don't Hear No Drums," "Move Over," "Soul For Sale," and "Plantation Coffle March." On the second disc, "God Don't Like Ugly" reaches a rare level of intensity that is reminiscent of "Holy Ghost" on "In This House, On This Morning."
Wynton does an excellent job of showcasing his compositional genius with this album, and the orchestra does an excellent job showcasing its technical talent. There are some stunning riffs, stratospheric cadences, and light-speed ensemble passages to study.
There are, however, two weaknesses to this otherwise brilliant piece of work. The third disc in particular is not as engaging as the first two are. The songs don't convey the same degree of intensity, and the songs themselves are largely devoid of any real action. The other minor gripe is the reading of the passages between some songs. The passages aren't read in complete unison, so it seems raggedy.
Despite these two issues, the lion's share of the music in this 3-CD set is brilliant, intense, and well-executed. It is definitely deserving of a serious listen, not just for its musical merits, but also for its historical and educational significance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wynton has done it again!! March 11 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Upon listening to this marvelous work, I can't help but think of the amount of thought and insperation that went into the creation of such a tremendous work. This composition is so marvelous in fact that I don't think the Great Ellington could have done better. Never before has creativity reached such a pinnacle. Wynton is the epitome of a musical genius. And how about the rest of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra? Do these guys really know their instuments or what? All of the ensemble members and singers perform this Pulitzer Prize winning composition with the utmost conviction and emotion. And of course Wynotn is at his Virtuoso best all the way around. For all of you who have not had a chance to listen to it, I emplore you to do so. And to those of you who have heard it and don't like it, I pity you and pray the mercy of God upon you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A True Musical Epic July 22 2001
Format:Audio CD
A truly epic story must have many elements such as tragedy, suspense, humor, psychological and even historical insight. This work has all that and more. The music and lyrics are intellectually and emotionally engaging and are very effectively crafted to help the listener to feel as well as follow the story. However, that does not prevent many of the songs from being catchy or much of the music from being simply delightful. I think the pieces are also composed and arranged to the strengths of the performers. I found Cassandra Wilson's vocals (and the arrangements behind them) to be especially effective. Although some of the most catchy and memorable songs belong to the male vocalists. I suspect that in a hundred years or so this work will stand out as one of the most important musical compositions of the 20th century.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, I had to return this one! Feb. 5 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I purchased more than 100 Jazz recordings last week alone. Including Armstong, Goodman, Art Blakey, Coltrane, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown, Dave Brubeck, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman, etc., etc., etc. I even purchased other Wynton Marsalis recordings. Of all of them, I could not help but return this to the store from which I bought it. Normally, they don't take things back but because I purchase so many CD's from them as well as Amazon, they agreed. Sorry, this is boring, with emphasis on the boring. Regardless of whatever awards Wynton has won as a result of this work. I am into results, not polls or awards. There were also polls that said Clinton had a 68% approval ratings. From who? Wyonton Marsalis is a great composer/musician but this one does not warrant the praise.
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1.0 out of 5 stars UGH!! Aug. 19 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
The perplexingly amateurish choral readings that introduce the musical pieces put me off early...and I never recovered. Why weren't actors hired for these readings?
Having read the libretto first, I had some idea of the type of music I wanted to hear. I understand the concept of writing against the obvious but, for example, I wanted to hear SOME terror in the music and vocals of "Move Over". If I'd heard it cold, and out of context, I would have assumed a romantic "afterglow" backstory to the song on this recording.
I'm regrettably disappointed.
Wanting More in Minnesota
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible! June 30 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Marsalis definitely deserved the Putlitzer for this work. He takes the issue of American slavery and weaves together a story of triumph and pain using the most American of all music forms in a timeless oratorio that will be appreciative for decades to come. Even Marsalis' critics will have to concede that this piece swings like no other. If you buy anything by Marsalis or the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, make it Blood on the Fields!
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