Entertainment Weekly (3/6/92, p.59) - "...LUSH LIFE matches Strayhorn's music in originality and sheer strangeness...Henderson, an adventurous and commanding bop player, brings a fierce muscularity to this music..." - Rating: A
Q (1/93, p.71) - Included in Q's list of the 50 Best Albums Of 1992.
Down Beat (3/92, p.33) - 4.5 Stars - Very Good Plus - "...his sound is at once sturdy, lean, overtone-conscious, and hard-hitting...substance and shadow of tone and subtone throughout..."
Village Voice (2/2/93, p.78) - "...a nearly flawless inquiry into the music of Billy Strayhorn, with inspired work by four supporting musicians, including Wynton Marsalis..."
Jazziz (Dec.-Jan./92, p.94) - Picked by critic Josef Woodard as one of the 10 best jazz albums of 1992.
Billy Strayhorn was one of the greatest composers in jazz history. It's no wonder Duke Ellington, his longtime collaborator, considered Strayhorn to be his alter ego. The beauty of Strayhorn's music lies in the fact that his tunes need no embellishment, yet at the same time, they are great vehicles for improvisation. For the performer, his music requires sensitivity, but it also invites daring interpretations.
Both reverent and playful, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson strikes a perfect balance on 1992's LUSH LIFE: THE MUSIC OF BILLY STRAYHORN. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis contributes tremendously to this album with blistering solos on "Johnny Come Lately" and "U.M.M.G. (Upper Manhattan Medical Group)." However, other musicians are featured throughout, as well--the three duo tracks, "Isfahan," "Lotus Blossom," and "Take the 'A' Train," illustrate the greatness of bassist Christian McBride, pianist Stephen Scott, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, respectively. Henderson himself displays tremendous improvisational prowess on all the tracks, particularly shining on his solo rendition of "Lush Life."