|Recorded at Sound On Sound, New York, New York on January 29 & 30, 1996. Includes liner notes by Benny Golson and W. Royal Stokes. "Body & Soul" was nominated for a 1999 Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo. An aptly-titled tribute not to an artist or a genre but to an instrument, * finds tenor legend Benny Golson and three of the '90s foremost players, Branford Marsalis, James Carter and Harold Ashby, reinterpreting and paying homage to their forebears. Each track is a signature piece of a different tenor, such as Stan Getz's "The Girl from Ipanema," John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" or Coleman Hawkins' "Body and Soul." Rather than attempt to emulate these geniuses' phrasing, the players state the piece's main theme and then use that as a springboard for their own improvisations and interpretations before returning to the theme at the end. It sounds a teensy bit formulaic in print, perhaps, but Golson, Marsalis, Carter and the underrated Ashby invest the proceedings with enough of their own personalities to make this more than a mere curiosity.
"Benny Golson is back, this time with a salute to 10 legends of the tenor saxophone. It’s such a daunting task that Golson has called for help from Branford Marsalis, Harold Ashby and James Carter. I’ve long held Golson in high regard, both as a player and writer. Carter is a rising star…and at his bet here on “Whisper Not”. Ashby, the elder statesman among Golson’s guests, employs the sweeping legato and broad vibrato of an earlier era, while Marsalis is definitely cookin' alongside Golson on “Body and Soul”. One can always count on pianist Keezer to have something fresh and appealing to say, and he’s never at a loss for words. With Burno and Farnsworth, he comprises a rhythm section that leaves nothing to chance This is a colorful session with perceptive choices of melody and tempo."
--Jack Bowers, www.allaboutjazz.com, August 1998
"**** stars - Too often all-star sessions have a slapped-together feeling and little sense of commitment from the players. But not Golson’s project. His considerable arranging skills give each track a distinctive sound. Furthermore, the powerhouse line-up of contemporary tenors clearly inspire one another. James Carter pushed himself to the limit on the John Coltrane tribute, “My Favorite Things”, while waxing romantic on “Cry Me A River”. Special mention should also be made of the sterling rhythm section of pianist Geoff Keezer, bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Joe Farnsworth."
--Joe Middleton, Stereo-Type & JazzUSA 8/98
"Benny Golson’s tribute…is notable for its depth, legitimately great music, and memory. An essential CD for fans of jazz sax. Also, great liner notes with historical commentary by Golson on the tunes and players."
--Todd De Groff, Victory Music Review, Sept ‘98