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Wynton Marsalis: 'The Magic Hour'

The Magic Hour

Those final minutes of the day, when parents everywhere are trying to get restless kids to settle down and go to bed, are what Wynton Marsalis calls "the magic hour." It's also the title of the acclaimed trumpeter's new CD, which he says celebrates the childishness in all of us.

"When they know they're getting ready to go to bed, it's like they go crazy," Marsalis tells NPR's Bob Edwards. "Then you have to put the blues on them to calm them down. Then when you calm them down, you can get into a groove... Then you read them the little bedtime story. Everything calms down and then they go ahead and go to sleep. That's why it's magic."

As befitting the bedtime theme, Marsalis sprinkles nursery-rhyme rhythms throughout The Magic Hour. "I use a three-note theme a lot because kids like something about three... All of these nursery rhymes always have three in them. That's why I have a lot of titles, like 'Me and You,' 'Big Fat Hen,' 'Free to Be,' just three words and three-note themes."

Marsalis describes The Magic Hour, which features his jazz quartet and guest vocalists Dianne Reeves and Bobby McFerrin, as "a confluence of moods and activities based on childhood and how a childhood continues. No matter how much older you get, you still have that essential childishness and childlike thing in you."

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