Christopher Crenshaw's The Fifties: A Prism

Christopher Crenshaw's The Fifties: A Prism

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This recording is only available as an MP3 or hi-res WAV digital download.

Access the digital booklet and liner notes.


“All jazz is modern,” says Wynton Marsalis—and we owe the 1950s for that. The momentous decade became the crucible in which modern jazz was formed, as styles like modal, hard bop, third stream, and more melted together and artists like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Ornette Coleman reached the height of their powers. Now, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra trombonist Chris Crenshaw has taken inspiration from the era to create The Fifties: A Prism, the newest Blue Engine album.

“When I was presented with the idea of coming up with a suite dealing with the 1950s, I immediately realized this was going to cover all the genres of jazz, from bebop to freedom music,” Crenshaw says. Recorded live at The House of Swing by the JLCO with Wynton Marsalis in February 2017, The Fifties does exactly that, refracting all the energy from a creatively supercharged era through a 21st-century lens. The result is at turns playful and moving, melodic and challenging—but it's always swinging.


Track listing

1. Flipped His Lid
2. Just A-Slidin'
3. Conglomerate
4. Cha-Cha Toda la Noche
5. Unorthodox Sketches
6. Pursuit of the New Thing




Sherman Irby (alto saxophone, alto flute)
Ted Nash (alto saxophone, piccolo)
Victor Goines (tenor saxophone, clarinet) - February 17 only
*Dan Block (tenor saxophone, clarinet) -  substitute for Victor Goines, February 18 only
Walter Blanding (tenor saxophone)
*Stantawn Kendrick (tenor saxophone)
Paul Nedzela (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet)

*Tatum Greenblatt
Marcus Printup
Kenny Rampton
Wynton Marsalis

Vincent Gardner
Chris Crenshaw; composer and music director
Elliot Mason

Dan Nimmer (piano)
Carlos Henriquez (bass)
Ali Jackson (drums)

*Indicates substitute orchestra member


"...a suite that honors the innovations of that decade while demonstrating all the ways in which those ideas are still dominant today." - Stereogum