Wynton Marsalis / Donald Hunsberger / Eastman Wind Ensemble

Carnaval

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Here, Wynton Marsalis switches to cornet and tries to recreate the ambience of the proverbial village wind bands of long ago -- albeit with the emphatically big-league help of Donald Hunsberger and the massive Eastman Wind Ensemble. This means a program of transcriptions of classical tunes, variations on popular ditties, dollops of sentimentality, heaping amounts of showoff display figurations, and other stuff that used to go over big in Middle America in the days before radio and electrical recording came in. From the hoary old hurdy-gurdy tune "The Carnival of Venice" that leads off the album onward, this is a record for dedicated antiquarians who dote on their Edison band cylinders because they like the music. But Marsalis works earnestly with the idea, playing those insidiously hummable tunes absolutely straight, with acres of flawless rapid-fire technical displays and even a touch of soulfulness on the token spiritual, "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." And Marsalis' pass through the nonstop minefield of Paganini's Moto Perpetuoz, using circular breathing to make the dumbfounded listener think that he doesn't have to take a breath, is a pretty astounding technical feat.

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