Skip to Content Menu

‘The Spiritual Side Of Wynton Marsalis’ Available Everywhere October 22


Rich collection of spiritually inspired works recorded 1988 to 2002, originally released on Columbia Records and Sony Classical, available everywhere October 22

Concurrent with 16-city “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour,” October 3-27, featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, conductor Damien Sneed, and 70-voice Chorale Le Chateau

Pulitzer Prize and nine-time Grammy Award®-winning musician, and Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis digs into his rich collection of spiritually inspired recordings at the Columbia and Sony Classical labels for The Spiritual Side Of Wynton Marsalis ( This special collection of 15 divine tracks will be available everywhere October 22 through Columbia/Sony Classical/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

The release of The Spiritual Side Of Wynton Marsalis coincides with the month-long “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour” featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, conductor Damien Sneed, and 70-voice Chorale Le Chateau. Billed as “an historic hand-clappin’, tambourine-slappin’ celebration,” the tour opens at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill, NC on October 3 and concludes in Boston’s Symphony Hall on October 27 (see tour dates below). Production for the 16-city tour is staggering: more than 85 people on the road with four buses and an equipment truck at a cost of more than $2 million performing before a combined audience of over 30,000 people. Following the release of The Spiritual Side Of Wynton Marsalis on October 22, the tour comes to New York City for three homecoming dates at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, October 24 through 26.

Coursing through The Spiritual Side Of Wynton Marsalis are such swingers as Marcus Roberts and Eric Reed (piano), Wycliffe Gordon (trombone), Wessell Anderson (alto sax), Victor Goines (tenor sax), Dr. Michael White (clarinet), Ted Nash (reeds), and many more, including Wynton’s pre-eminent rhythm section of Reginald Veal on bass and drummer Herlin Riley.

Simeon Marsalis writes in his liner notes, concerning his father’s spiritual beliefs, “we learn that Wynton is a secular humanist whose growth was grounded in Christian philosophy by his mother.” Wynton reflects, “Spiritual means the innermost reflections on the most high and on an all-pervasive consciousness. It is a basic warmth and acceptance of human beings in the glory of unruly humanness.” The tracks that Wynton has personally selected for The Spiritual Side Of Wynton Marsalis range from duets, trios and small combos to full orchestral settings, and were chosen from seven albums originally released on the Columbia and Sony Classical labels. The music, Simeon writes, “strikes a balance between the sacred and secular worlds.”

This balance is heard on tracks featuring vocals by contemporary gospel luminary Shirley Caesar (“I Hear a Knockin”and “If I Hold On”), along with the genre-defying song craft of singer Cassandra Wilson (“Oh We Have a Friend in Jesus”) and on other tracks on the recording. The album’s centerpiece is a previously unreleased performance of “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” by gospel legend Marion Williams, recorded at age 65, in 1993, the year before her death. This song, from the pen of Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of gospel music, is one of Williams’ signature showpieces.

Among the deep well of recordings from which Wynton draws are:

Simeon compares the theme of The Spiritual Side of Wynton Marsalis to a New Orleans funeral function, “sorrowful but ultimately uplifting” as it alternates tempos. The effect is “designed to celebrate our collective soul,” he writes, “from a single plaintive chant, to an instrumental re-enactment of a Sunday service, to a full choir shouting for redemption.” Simeon writes that his father and grandfather were inspired and uplifted by the integrity and spirituality of A Love Supreme, John Coltrane’s 1965 masterpiece. Today, Simeon concludes, “we are uplifted by [Wynton’s] supreme love for artistic excellence and that most pervasive of consciousnesses, the spirit. ALL RISE.”

The Spiritual Side Of Wynton Marsalis

(Columbia/Sony Classical/Legacy 88883 78542 2)

Selections: 1. I Hear a Knockin’ (E) • 2. All Rise: XII: I Am (Don’t You Run From Me) (edit) (G) • 3. If I Hold On (E) • 4. Processional (B) • 5. Psalm 26 (A) • 6. Awakening (D) • 7. Hymn (B) • 8. Precious Lord, Take My Hand (B sessions, previously unreleased) • 9. In the Sweet Embrace of Life Sermon: Holy Ghost (B) • 10. Flee as a Bird To the Mountain (F) • 11. Sing On (E) • 12. Benediction (B) • 13. Oh We Have A Friend in Jesus (C) • 14. To Higher Ground (E) • 15. Pot Blessed Dinner (B).

Album index:

A – from Uptown Ruler – Soul Gesture, originally released 7/91, as Columbia CK 47976

B – from In This House, On This Morning, originally released 3/22/94, as Columbia C2K 53220

C – from Blood On the Fields, originally released 6/97, as Columbia CK 57694

D – from Sweet Release & Ghost Story, originally released8/10/99, as Sony Classical SK 61690

E – from Reeltime, originally released10/29/99, as Sony Classical SK 51239)

F – from Live at the Village Vanguard, originally released12/7/99, as Columbia CXK 69876

G – from All Rise, originally released10/1/02, as Sony Classical S2K 89817

Date   City Venue
Oct. 3-4 Chapel Hill, NC UNC Chapel Hill Memorial Hall
  5 Norfolk, VA Chrysler Hall
  6 Washington, DC Kennedy Center
  8 Charlotte, NC Friendship Missionary Baptist Church
  10 Athens, GA University of Georgia
  11 Augusta, GA Good Shepherd Baptist Church
  13 New Orleans, LA Saenger Theatre
  14 Houston, TX Fountain of Praise Church
  15 Austin, TX The Long Center
  16 Dallas, TX The Black Academy of Arts and Letters
  18 St. Louis, MO Touhill Performing Arts Center
  19 Kansas City, MO Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts,
      Helzberg Hall
  21 Mechanicsburg, PA Messiah College
  22 New Haven, CT Yale University, Woosley Hall
  24-26 New York, NY Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall
  27 Boston, MA Symphony Hall