WILLIE A YOUNG II | Houston, TX. | 08/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This wondrous masterwork has been a staple in my musical diet for nearly a decade and it continues to astound and delight me with each listen. "Brother Veal", the winning opener is only a prelude to Marsalis' finest composition ever "Blue Interlude" (The Bittersweet Saga Of Sugar Cane And Sweetie Pie), a sprawling 37 minute romp through the backpages of romance, the never ending dance of man & woman and a fine tribute to the towering influence of Duke Ellington. While Ellingtonian moods and voicings are used liberally throughout the title piece, the album as a whole is quite rewarding (note the New Orleans jazz feel of "And The Band Played On") and varied. The "Jubilee Suite" is a mini-epic of sorts and shows Tenor saxophonist Todd Williams to be one of the best soloists in modern jazz. (Note to Mr. Williams: You should be a leader, now!) As Wynton Marsalis' first extended piece on record, "Blue..." stands as a moment of sheer brilliance and exuberant triumph. This is not Marsalis imitating Ellington by any means, simply a young genius expanding the parameters of modern music by painting on a massive canvas laid by a legend. Essential"