CMJ (5/3/99, p.37) - "...Featuring a tremendous cast of Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra regulars, plus Illinois Jacquet, this Ellington tribute is worth the price of admission just for the opening salvo from pianist Cyrus Chestnut..."
JazzTimes (8/99, pp.96-7) - "...[clings] remarkably close to the sound of the originals....the LCJO is without further reservation, the next best thing around [to the original Ellington], with special emphasis to be placed on the last phrase."
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra: Wessell "Warmdaddy" Anderson, Ted Nash (alto saxophone); Victor Goines (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Walter Blanding Jr. (tenor saxophone); Joe Temperley (baritone saxophone); Wynton Marsalis, Seneca Black, Ryan Kisor, Marcus Printup (trumpet); Wayne Goodman, Wycliffe Gordon, Ronald Westray (trombone); Cyrus Chestnut (piano); Rodney Whitaker (bass); Herlin Riley (drums).
Additional personnel: Dianne Reeves, Milt Grayson (vocals); Illinois Jacquet (tenor saxophone).
Engineers include: Daryl Bornstein, David Hewitt, Nate Hewitt.
Recorded live at The Supper Club, New York, New York from August 25-27, 1998.
With his Lincoln Center jazz program firmly in place, the late '90s found Wynton Marsalis poised to achieve his career-long goal: making jazz the new classical music. Ensembles like the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and albums like this one may very well usher jazz into a new millennium where it's afforded an appropriate amount of respect. Marsalis has a keen sense of history, as evidenced by this tribute to the music of Duke Ellington.
The thick, robust alto sax of Wessell Anderson and the grand, vibrant voicings of pianist Cyrus Chestnut lend a warmth and geniality to this program of Ellington classics. As the Orchestra moves through chestnuts like "C Jam Blues," "Black and Tan Fantasy" and "Mood Indigo," a deeper tribute to Duke becomes apparent. Despite the prowess of the soloists, the players sound dedicated to the ensemble dynamic above all else. There can be no plainer mark of Ellington's influence.