Entertainment Weekly - 8/17/01, p.73
"...A good starting place to start amongst his overabundant discography...he helped define post-1980s jazz..." - Rating: A-
Uncut - 11/01, p.1185 stars out of 5
- "...A considerable artist..."
Personnel: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet); Victor Goines, Todd Williams (soprano & tenor saxophones, clarinet); Wessell Anderson (soprano & alto saxophone); Ted Nash, Branford Marsalis (soprano & tenor saxophones); Gideon Feldenstein (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet); Harry "Sweets" Edison, Ryan Kysor, Marcus Printup (trumpet); Wycliffe Gordon, Ronald Westray (trombone); Kent Jordan (flute, piccolo); Eric Reed, Ellis Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, Kenny Kirkland, Farid Barron (piano); Ben Wolfe, Reginald Veal, Robert Leslie Hurst III, Charnett Moffett, Rodney Whitaker (bass); Lewis Nash, Herlin Riley, Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums).
Producers: Steve Epstein, Delfeayo Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis.
Compilation producer: Nedra Olds-Neal.
Includes liner notes by Stanley Crouch.
Digitally remastered by Mark Wilder & Seth Foster (Sony Music Studios, New York, New York).
In the 1980s and '90s alone, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis produced a huge catalog of music. On this compilation, listeners are treated to 12 of his most memorable recorded moments from this era. "Black Codes" is an early composition from the 1985 album of the same name. Despite the heavy influence of Miles Davis, this tune (not to mention the BLACK CODES album) manages to be imaginative and idiosyncratic, proving the virtuosic brilliance of Marsalis.
Ray Noble's "Cherokee" is another tune that shows off Marsalis's incredible technique. He burns through this chart, with his searing bebop lines harking back to early Dizzy Gillespie. "Double Rondo on the River (Pedro's Getaway)" borrows from the Duke Ellington tradition; cosmopolitan, sophisticated, and highly arranged, this tune morphs back and forth between contemporary jazz and 1940s Harlem swing. Elsewhere, "Root Groove" and "Sunflowers" share the same swampy groove in part, due to drummer Herlin Riley's tambourine beat. On these tracks, Marsalis's neo-Ellington arrangements take the listener on an interesting ride through jazz history by combining the New Orleans Dixieland sound with uptown swing.